[lg policy] 'Let me be clear, I will make no apology' - Lesufi responds to FF Plus on Afrikaans schools
haroldfs at gmail.com
Sat Oct 27 10:07:58 EDT 2018
'Let me be clear, I will make no apology' - Lesufi responds to FF Plus on
Afrikaans schools 2018-10-26 22:57
[image: Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi. (Christopher Moagi, Daily
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi. (Christopher Moagi, Daily Sun)
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Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says he will not apologise for asking
an "underutilised school" offering tuition in Afrikaans, to teach in
another language instead.
This was Lesufi's response to Gauteng legislature integrity commissioner Dr
Ralph Mgijima after the Freedom Front Plus' (FF+) Adriaan van Staden,
lodged a complaint insinuating that Lesufi wanted to abolish Afrikaans at
In a 48-page response, Lesufi pointed out that he in no way breached any
constitutional or legislative provisions.
"Let me be clear, I will make no apology for requesting an underutilised
school that only teaches in Afrikaans and where there is a sufficient
demand, as per the Norms and Standards of Language Policy in Public
Schools, referred to above, to provide tuition in another language," Lesufi
was quoted as saying.
In a statement, Gauteng education spokesperson Steve Mabona said it was
noted that Lesufi had seen it necessary, important and duty bound to
respond to Van Staden's allegations.
But he added that the allegations were baseless and founded on paranoia and
the manipulation of information to achieve an electoral advantage for the
*Read: 'This is petty politics' - Lesufi on FF+ charges against him
Mabona said Lesufi's response was filed with the integrity commissioner.
In it, he denied in the strongest terms the allegation that he was in any
way prejudiced against the Afrikaans language, against Afrikaners, or
against any other minority, in any form.
"On the contrary, the MEC's actions on numerous occasions over the years
confirm his commitment to the Constitution of South Africa and the rights
of all citizens enshrined in that Constitution," Mabona said.
He added that it was concerning that there the FF+ provided no evidence to
support its allegations.
"This was deliberately intended to misrepresent the situation and to
portray MEC Lesufi as being on a crusade against the Afrikaans language or
Afrikaans schools whereas, in fact, there is absolutely no evidence to
support that allegation," the statement read.
Mabona added that it was the department's mandate that, where situations
occurred in areas where the racial demographics were changing in terms of
residency or employment, it was completely logical. The department was also
obliged to provide education to pupils as close as possible to where they
lived or where parents or guardians were employed.
In his response, Lesufi also touched on, among others, the Hoërskool
Overvaal court case as well as the case of the Federation of Governing
Bodies of South African Schools (Fedsas), which were in van Staden's
According to Lesufi the complaint said that the high court's decision that
Hoërskool Overvaal did not have to admit 55 English-speaking pupils,
confirmed the "political games being played by the Gauteng Department of
Education is only to the detriment of both white and black [pupils]".
The party said in its complaint that "with this judgment, the court
confirmed that the Gauteng Department of Education [is] manipulating the
educational system in such a way that racial polarisation becomes
inevitable at Afrikaans schools..."
*Also read: Clash continues between FF Plus and Lesufi over Afrikaans in
However Lesufi responded that van Staden made several inferences from the
judgment "which do not hold water".
"While it may have been found that the instruction given to Hoërskool
Overvaal to admit 55 English-speaking [pupils] constituted a reviewable
decision, nowhere in the judgment is it said or implied that the [Gauteng
education department], or any of its representatives, were playing
political games or manipulating the education system," Lesufi says in the
Regarding the Fedsas court case the complaint said: "In May 2015, the
Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools won a court case
against MEC Lesufi. This court case followed on the MEC's attempts to force
Afrikaans schools to admit English-speaking [pupils]."
"The court's decision in this case already proves that the MECs actions
were unlawful and violated Section 29 of the Constitution”
However, Lesufi labelled the statements "untrue".
"While it may be the case that the High Court ruled in favour of Fedsas,
what Mr Van Staden conveniently fails to mention is that this outcome was
appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeal and overturned," Lesufi said.
Harold F. Schiffman
Professor Emeritus of
Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305
Phone: (215) 898-7475
Fax: (215) 573-2138
Email: haroldfs at gmail.com
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