Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has lambasted Solidarity’s plans to open an Afrikaans-only university.
In an opinion piece for IOL, Lesufi claimed that the Afrikaans language was being ‘hijacked’ by the trade union to ‘conceal a hatred of a democratic South Africa’.
“It is a pity that even under a democratic state, we are still being insulted and the overwhelming majority of our people, still live in squalor, not out of their own making but because of the historic injustices of apartheid education,” he said.
“It is those living in informal settlements and rural areas without skills that need this university. But they will be excluded because they do not speak Afrikaans.”
Lesufi added that he fully supported multilingualism where all languages are protected and developed.
“The opening of this language-based university, especially a language that was used to oppress us, is not good for the future of our country.”
Alternative school system
A new university is just one of a number of projects which Solidarity is currently working on as part of a plan to create an ‘alternative school system’.
In a statement on Tuesday (17 September), the trade union said that these education and employment projects are expected to cost around R4.5 billion and will be completed over the next five years.
Dr Dirk Hermann, Solidarity chief operations officer, said that the projects would be funded primarily through donations.
“Every Solidarity member donates R10 to a Building Fund each month,” he said.
“Thousands of members of the public donate smaller amounts each month to make the building of institutions such as Sol-Tech possible.
“What we see here is not the product of state money or major empowerment money but of small contributions by the thousands adding up to make something big happen.”
Projects included in the Solidarity network pipeline include:
- A comprehensive alternative school system,
- An occupational training,
- A university,
- Financial aid for education,
- A youth movement,
- A network of occupational guilds,
- Job placement;
- Protection in the workplace;
- Continued education.