Tue, 19 Feb 2019
15
San Antonio

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says the time for race politics, particularly in schools, has passed.

Speaking at the opening of Centurion Primary School on Wednesday, Lesufi touched on the Schweizer-Reneke primary school controversy, after a photo emerged showing black children sitting at a desk, separate from their white counterparts.

Lesufi said much time had been spent focusing on other "silly things" instead of whether there were enough proper qualified teachers in classrooms.

"Those that want to bring us into race politics, we have passed that stage. Those that believe that schools in Centurion are only for their mother tongue language, they don't want any other language, keep your own school and we will keep our own school," he said.

Lesufi said the reality was that South Africans were better off together than divided.

He urged teachers to prove that they could provide quality education to all children, regardless of their background.

"We don't have to spend time arguing whether this picture of black and white learners was taken by this teacher or that teacher. We don't have to spend time with a union called Solidarity. We don't have to spend time with problems that are in Schweizer-Reneke. We must say, we have passed that stage, we are not going back.

"Solidarity must back off! If you are going to bring politics onto the school premises, you are not going to survive," Lesufi said.

'Gutter education'

The trade union threatened to head to court, claiming that Elana Barkhuizen had been incorrectly suspended for taking a photo, while the teacher who allegedly separated the children remained at the school.

Lesufi added that if the North West province did not tell Solidarity to "back off", the department would do so itself.

Lesufi said the "gutter education" prior 1994 was slowly but surely being ended. He said township schools and urban schools were now getting pleasing results.

The MEC described the robbery at the newly built Tsakane school, which was opened about a week ago, as "heartbreaking". Lesufi further pleaded with parents, teachers and learners to protect the school to avoid such incidents.

On the matter of school placements, he added that, at this stage, all learners in Gauteng had been placed, and that the department was now waiting for responses from parents to accept or decline their placements.

"We have placed everyone. We have given parents until Friday to say they accept or they don't accept," he said.

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