The Democratic Alliance (DA) strongly condemns Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi’s latest utternaces about Afrikaans.
In a reaction to an Afrikaans university being built, Lesufi accused the project of being “racist” and a reminder of apartheid.
The DA rejects the generalisation that Afrikaans belongs to white people. We also do not believe in the labelling of Afrikaans as “the language of apartheid”. This must stop.
The Constitutional Court (Case CCT 101/17) articulated this point by stating that “we all must consciously guard against the possibility of a subliminal and yet effectively prejudicial disposition towards Afrikaans setting in, owing only to its past record as a virtual synonym to ‘racism and racially based practices’.”
The truth is that Afrikaans is the home language of the majority coloured South Africans with more than 77% of coloured South Africans being Afrikaans first language speakers.
The DA strongly believes that mother tongue education, whether in Afrikaans or any of our ten other indigenous languages, is a key to development, and learners reaching their full potential.
There is no place for racial rows in our education system. Quality education and mother tongue education are suffering.
MEC Lesufi should focus his efforts on improving the Gauteng education system and creating much-needed opportunities for all to be educated in their mother tongue, not inciting racial divisions.
The MEC has burned his fingers before – in July 2018 when the Constitutional Court ruled against him and backed an earlier ruling dismissing his bid to force High School Overvaal to take 55 English-speaking pupils.
The public is becoming fed-up with Lesufi’s racism. Mother tongue education is not about colour or culture, it is about quality education. And promoting it by no means translates to a racialised education system.
Lesufi, as a public servant in this field, is required to promote this and we call on him to engage with all language groups and to promote mother tongue education rather than vilify it.
Refiloe Nt’sekhe MPL
DA National Spokesperson