Basic Education Minister’s response to parliamentary questions shows that Lesufi does have a vendetta against Afrikaans
7 December 2017
The Basic Education Minister’s answers to parliamentary questions confirm that the Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, has his own agenda and that it is targeted at Afrikaans schools in the province, says adv Anton Alberts, chairperson of the FF Plus. (Please see full questions and answers below).
The Minister, Angie Motshekga, also confirmed that the planned amendments to the Schools Act have nothing to do with Apartheid and that is exactly the opposite of what Lesufi said, i.e. that the amendments are aimed at eradicating Apartheid practices.
According to the Minister, the changes that were made when the Schools Act was promulgated were adequate and ensured that the education system moved away from Apartheid.
Adv Alberts says that one positive outcome of the questions he addressed to the Minister, is that she again confirmed that Afrikaans schools have nothing to fear as long as they are filled to capacity. This also differs from Lesufi’s threats that even full schools will simply have to make room for learners that speak other languages.
“The fact of the matter is that Lesufi is out of line because he is not building new schools even though the budget allows for it. He is also not threatening to make English schools accommodate more learners so one can only come to the conclusion that he wants to destroy Afrikaans schools.
“Lesufi’s dishonesty is certainly filtering through and unfortunately he is acting like a demagogue with his own agenda and not like a responsible provincial MEC for Education, who is supposed to look out for all the learners in his province, irrespective of what language they speak.
“The FF Plus is still strongly opposed to the planned amendments to the Schools Act as it will silence the community’s voice with regard to the language policies adopted by their schools.
“This centralisation of power is undemocratic and comes down to denying parents their democratic right to determine their children’s educational environment – that is the worst form of infringement on rights in a constitutionally democratic system. Is it in direct contravention of the Constitution.
“The FF Plus agrees with the Minister’s assertion that the lack of educational infrastructure is a big problem. She, therefore, has to ensure that enough schools are built so that all the official languages can be accommodated without a single one being discriminated against.
“It is interesting to note that the Minister was unable to answer the question about new buildings and whether or not the educational demands in Gauteng and the rest of the country are being met. She had to request the information from the Department. That means that any pressure put on Afrikaans schools to accommodate learners that speak other languages is irrational and questionable, because how can one determine that there is a need for Afrikaans schools to throw open their doors to all if there is no data on new schools?
“This links to the issue that new schools are not being built in Gauteng, and possibly also in the rest of the country, although it is provided for in the annual infrastructure budget of the provinces. A national audit will have to be done to determine if MEC’s are making sure that new schools are built and to investigate what they are doing with the money that they are allotted for that purpose.
“Without such an audit, Afrikaans schools will remain under siege despite the loud assurances of the Minister. The FF Plus proposes that an independent audit must be done as soon as possible,” says adv Alberts.
Issued by Anton Alberts, FF Plus chairperson and parliamentary spokesperson: Basic Education, 7 December 2017