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Thubelihle High School: Lesufi lets schools in informal settlements down, but makes time for targeting Afrikaans schools

The FF Plus laments the lack of quality schools in Gauteng, particularly in informal settlements, while the Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, makes time for targeting Afrikaans schools.

The FF Plus is making this remark against the backdrop of the recent events at Thubelihle High School in Soweto where frustrated parents forced the school to close due to the terrible condition of the school's infrastructure.

According to a report by eNCA, disgruntled parents shut down the school because parts of the school have been undergoing renovations for the past five years but are still not completed, and some of the buildings have no windows and doors. It is very important to have buildings that can be closed up, especially because winter is on the way.

The FF Plus finds these events ironic, particularly because in his feedback to the Gauteng Legislature's Committee on Education, the MEC enthused over his sound management of schools and the quality of the buildings.

Moreover, no irony is lost on the fact that the MEC spends quite a lot of time on targeting Afrikaans schools in an attempt to force them to accommodate learners who speak other languages to allegedly solve the problem of access; but Afrikaans schools comprise just 6% of all the public schools in Gauteng.

Even if all the Afrikaans schools are forced to teach only in English, it will not solve the problem of access to education, seeing as the solution lies in upgrading existing schools, like Thubelihle High School, and building new, additional schools.

It appears that Lesufi is trying to divert the attention away from his poor management and lack of maintenance at public schools by looking for racists everywhere. An example is the Jan Viljoen High School saga where investigations will shortly prove that racism was not the cause of the conflict between learners, despite Lesufi's allegations to the contrary.

The events at Thubelihle High School must also be seen in the context of a written question that the FF Plus addressed to the Gauteng Department of Education to determine whether all public schools are inspected annually to ensure structural safety.

Lesufi responded by saying that it does indeed happen and that his Department had identified 57 schools that need urgent attention (please see the attached question and reply).

Lesufi's written reply, however, makes no mention of Thubelihle High School, which serves as clear proof that Lesufi's annual inspections of schools are not up to date.

It also explains the tragic events at Driehoek High School three years ago.

The FF Plus will confront Lesufi about this to ensure that his department addresses the pressing problems at schools that need urgent attention, and so that Afrikaans schools can get out of the cross hairs.

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