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‘Afrikaans does not make your child special’

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Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has hit out at people who believe their children were better than others.

Lesufi was taking part in a debate with Afriforum’s Kallie Kriel on the preservation of Afrikaans in schools which was held at the Motsu Park Hall in Tembisa, Johannesburg, on Thursday.

Lesufi argued that wanting children to be in a school together and having good education alone in Afrikaans was thinking that children who spoke other languages did not also deserve a good education.

“Having schools that only have Afrikaans excludes those who can’t speak Afrikaans,” he said.

Referencing the Freedom Charter which states that the doors of learning and culture shall be opened for all, Lesufi said: “The constitution reconises all languages as equal. No language is under attack.”

Lesufi said that by 2030 no South African child should be excluded from school based on the colour of their skin.

“I’m going to do the opposite of everything (apartheid architect) Hendrik Verwoerd did. He said there would be separate education for each race and what I am saying is that there will be education for all,” he said.

Last month the Constitutional Court ruled in the favour of the Gauteng Education Department in the contested issue of school admissions regulations, and that children from outside a school’s traditional catchment area could not summarily be turned away.

In celebration of the ruling Lesufi said in a Facebook comment: “We WON! Thanks ConCourt, today we finally broke the backbone of apartheid planning.”

He added that in 1982, the apartheid government spent R146 on the education of a black child and R1 270 on a white child.

“When schools were built in white areas they had better schools and black schools weren’t catered for. You might have oppressed our grandparents and our parents, but not us.”

Lesufi accused the Afrikaner community of wanting to defend their territory, and not just education.

“You are defending your territory. Do Afrikaans schools play rugby with non-Afrikaans schools? No.

“Afrikaans schools exclude themselves and have privatised school sports to themselves. Make all these facilities open for all of us,” he said.

The MEC went on to say that there were many vacancies advertised at schools in the townships but no white teachers applied. “When I advertise a post at a school here (Tembisa), would an Afrikaans teacher apply,” Lesufi asked.

He said that every school had the right to have a single medium of education, but was against schools where children of a single race interacted on their own.

“98% of these schools have whites only. If I was malicious I would audit all those schools and dismantle them with just a signature.”

Lesufi said that he hated that Afrikaans schools didn’t promote the learning of the history of the country.

“They don’t even teach their children about the history of the country. Is it a sin to allow a black school that doesn’t have a sports field to allow them to use the facilities? “

The MEC told the audience that they were better off being governed by the African National Congress (ANC) as it supported all races. “You are better off being led by the ANC. Any other government won’t build all of us to be together. Let’s not scare each other.”

He concluded by saying that those who wanted to protect their own languages undermined others.

“It’s not true that the conversion to English drops the standards. When it’s converted, you leave. I don’t want us to have a race war, nor undermine each others’ languages. I want to share your frustrations.”

Earlier, Kriel has argued that Afrikaans schools were not exclusively white and that the Afrikaner community only wanted to ensure that their children were taught in their mother tongue.

He said the Afrikaans community did not want to take over the country and government, they simply wanted their culture and language to be protected.

[Source: African News Agency]
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