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'Learners Languish While Panyaza Lesufi Babbles'

Lesufi made it clear from the outset that he intends to achieve his objective.

19/01/2018 11:10 SAST | Updated 19/01/2018 11:55 SAST
Mujahid Safodien/ AFP/ Getty Images

'The South African Teachers' Union (SAOU) has laid the unequivocal blame for the violent protest at Hoërskool Overvaal in Vereeniging at the door of Gauteng MEC for education, Panyaza Lesufi.

The violence follows the setting aside by the High Court in Pretoria of a Gauteng department of education instruction to the school to accept 55 black learners who wish to be instructed in English.

Lesufi made it clear from the outset that he intends to achieve his objective: forcing an Afrikaans high school that is already full to accept the 55 learners, changing by default the single Afrikaans-medium language policy that the school governing body (SGB) has a Constitutional right to adopt.

His insistence on taking the school to court -- and involving the learners in the process -- directly fomented the resulting emotional confrontations and physical violence between Overvaal parents and community protesters following the court judgment.

Reported comments by some of the protesters, with specific reference to Afrikaans, strongly suggest that the MEC's court case has more to do with political agendas than it does with the supply of quality education for all.

At no point has Panyaza Lesufi or his department answered the obvious question: Why have sufficient numbers of schools not been built in time to meet ever-growing numbers of learners needing to be placed?

Is the MEC aware of the education realities that prevail in his province?

The proper education of the learners is being sacrificed on the altar of ego and the political aspirations of the MEC.

In the current year alone, between 20 and 30 new schools are required, even to begin to address the need.

The whole question of school registration is further exacerbated by the GDE's so-called "e-admissions" system, that has proven inadequate to the task several times in the past.

Not surprisingly, it appears that there is now a move to move school registration away from the district offices, and back to the schools.

The MEC continues to prove his lack of proper education planning, management and general competence to run his department. The blame for the current debacle will no doubt be spun out of all recognition, with everyone and everything else is to blame – past and present.

Glib, smooth-tongued populist claims on radio and television continue to suggest that perhaps the proper education of the learners is being sacrificed on an altar of ego and the political aspirations of the MEC.