Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi says that schools in South Africa are overcrowded because “whites-only” schools are refusing to admit black pupils.
The comments followed a roasting from DA and EFF politicians in the Gauteng legislature on 4 August, according to a report by IOL.
Lesufi was questioned why so many schools in the province were overcrowded, with pupils using broken chairs and desks – an issue raised by the DA earlier in the week.
The MEC said that the poor conditions at the schools exposed by the DA had already been resolved, and he sought to flip the issue on its head by blaming the ‘DA constituency’ for the growing problems facing SA schools.
According to IOL, Lesufi said overcrowding in townships schools was due to white schools refusing to admit black pupils to their schools on the basis of language and creed disparities.
Additionally, over 100,000 extra pupils had to be accommodated after the school registration deadline which exacerbated the issue, as they had to share space and equipment.
The EFF reportedly highlighted that Afrikaans schools continued to outnumber English schools even in areas where most pupils were English speaking.
Lesufi agreed that it was a problem, and noted that a school in Fourways had taken him to court to stop him from forcing it to change its policies.
Some schools were overcrowded, while other schools in the same area had an occupancy rate of only a third of its capacity, he was quoted saying.
“We cannot allow five people to hold the country to ransom…We cannot prioritise the interest of the minority,” he said.