Apartheid, exclusion, easy targets – Gauteng’s education MEC and
AfriForum’s chief executive left no issue off the agenda during a debate in
Tembisa on the East Rand today.
AfriForum’s Kallie Kriel said Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi
should focus on the problems plaguing public schools, rather than targeting
“We believe that the target is at the wrong place, the real enemy
that we all want to fight is that 80% of our schools in the country are
dysfunctional,” Kriel said during the debate.
He said Afrikaans-medium schools made up only 2.5% of schools in
“The fact is, a dysfunctional school is a school unable to transfer
knowledge effectively to children.”
He said Lesufi needed to address the main problem within the
schooling system – which was the grip that the South African Democratic
Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) had on the basic education system.
“I have heard of many instances where teachers don’t pitch up for
class and they are not doing their work properly and then they are protected by
“I urge the MEC to take on Sadtu, even though they are an alliance
partner of the ANC, because we owe it to our children to break the power they
have, and that is where we need to focus and not make the small number of
Afrikaans schools an easy target.”
He wanted to dispel the myth that Afrikaans schools were portrayed
as “exclusive white spaces” and challenged Lesufi to show him a single public
Afrikaans school in Gauteng that was exclusively white.
“That is certainly not the case. My own children are in Afrikaans
schools and there are black children in those schools. We know that the MEC’s
child was in an Afrikaans school. It shows that they are not exclusively white
schools,” Kriel said.
Lesufi replied that the current state of public school education
was a direct result of how the apartheid regime dealt with black children.
“In 1982, the apartheid education system was paying R1211 on white
children; they were spending R146 on a black child. So if you say our education
system is dysfunctional, who made it dysfunctional in the first place?
“It means that when you were building schools, you were building
better facilities in your own areas and schools with worse facilities in our own
areas. So you want to tell us that be trapped in those areas, don’t move to ours
because ours we are defending a language.
“You are not defending a language, you are defending your
territory, that’s the bottom line,” Lesufi said.
He accused Afrikaans-medium schools of excluding themselves by not
taking part in cultural and sporting public school events.
“There’s an association of sports that strictly deal with Afrikaans
language, so there’s no social cohesion. We’ve got a national choir concert.
Have you seen Afrikaans schools participating in those choir concerts? Who’s
excluding them? They are excluding themselves.
“Have you seen Afrikaner schools playing soccer? Because in the
Motsepe League, where all the schools are playing, they are not there.”
Afrikaners have privatised school sports in their own schools;
check the companies that own those school sports. We are only saying ‘make these
facilities available for all of us’,” he said.
Lesufi vowed to undo everything former prime minister Hendrik
Verwoerd had done during apartheid.
He reassured AfriForum that he was not seeking to do way with the
language, but wanted all public schools to be inclusive.
“If there is a school that wants to use Afrikaans as a mother
tongue, under my leadership, they have the right, they are entitled, I will
defend them. There will be no school that will be undermined purely because it
is teaching Afrikaans.
“But if you want only Afrikaans in your own school, alone, that’s
where we differ.”
He did not want schools that only had “klein baase” (little
“We want equal education for all. We want to build a non-racial
education for South Africans. We want to open all our resources, to all the
children in this country. Is this a sin? Is it bad?” Lesufi asked. – News24