AfriForum launches campaign demanding Lesufi’s dismissal

MEC of Education in Gauteng Panyaza Lesufi. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha / African News Agency (ANA)

The lobby group accuses the education MEC of making racist statements; having a ‘disdainful’ attitude towards Afrikaans people; corruption; incompetence; and more.

Lobby group AfriForum has set its sights on Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi and has launched a “comprehensive campaign” aimed at getting him dismissed by Gauteng Premier David Makhura.

The organisation said in a statement on Wednesday it has been “flooded with requests from parents who had enough of the MEC’s mismanagement of the current school placement process, as well as many other examples of misconduct”.

The details of the campaign will be announced on Thursday, according to the lobby group.

However, in the statement, AfriForum already makes it clear what their big bone of contention is – Lesufi’s announcement that “high-volume schools will make room for more learners by acquiring mobile classrooms, and that empty township schools will be filled by adding Afrikaans as [a] language of instruction”.

“These measures neither provide meaningful, lasting solutions to the problems, nor does the MEC accept responsibility for the failure of the online system,” says the statement.

Carien Bloem, AfriForum’s manager of education, said: “The MEC believes that schools should merge to create full English-medium schools. However, the matter is not that simple and this will not solve the problem of too few schools in Gauteng in time.

“The online application system and school placements are but one of many issues that will be addressed by AfriForum’s campaign.”

In addition, the lobby group accuses Lesufi of “racist statements that polarise communities in the country”, overseeing “misappropriation and corruption” in his department, making “repeated disdainful statements about Afrikaans and Afrikaans as a language of tuition” and refusing to “take action against the ongoing interference of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) at public schools”.

“It is a disgrace that the premier still allows Lesufi to hold office, despite the damage he has already inflicted on the education system of Gauteng.

“He is regularly lauded from government’s side for Gauteng’s excellent matric results. In truth, however, the results can be ascribed to the dedication of outstanding education staff, children and parents in the province, who are performing in spite of his continual ideological interference. The schools, parents and children of Gauteng deserve better,” said Bloem.

Lesufi, meanwhile responded on social media by saying he is not afraid of AfriForum’s “racists”.

“The day racists praise you, you must know the revolution is lost! My only plea to racists please don’t harm my kids and my family, as for me you are free to do as you wish.

“I know you attempted on various occasions to harm and attack me. I’m unsinkable,” he said.

(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)

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