I did not label school racist, says Lesufi

Panyaza Lesufi Education MEC.Picture: Gallo Images

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, during his submission at the Human Rights Commission (HRC) hearing in Braamfontein yesterday, slammed claims he had labelled the community of Klipspruit West racist.

“I deny claims that I have labelled the community of Klipspruit West as racist. I have never uttered anything that was inappropriate,” he said.

Lesufi said principals were appointed based on competency and not because of their race.

The hearing in response to complaints of recent public unrests in Eldorado Park convened on Monday.

The hearing is being conducted to resolve issues of racism in the community.

The problems at the school arose from the appointment of a black principal, who community members did not want.

The school has spent about two years without a principal after the previous principal resigned because he was under performing. Lesufi highlighted the processes that are followed when appointing a school principal.

“The school governing body must recommend three candidates and the head of department holds the decision. All candidates that are short listed must meet the minimum requirements of the job position as advertised. It is not the score that determines the appointment of the right candidates but other elements are taken into consideration,” he said.

He said the department should have had involved pupils more broadly in the matter. The community of Eldorado Park on Monday pointed out marginalisation and the lack of service delivery as the underlying factors that led to the recent unrest at Klipspruit West Secondary School. A representative for the Patriots of Equality, Anthony Williams on Monday said the community was disappointed with the HRC for not intervening as soon as the unrest started.

“Our people are forgotten, there is confusion among ourselves as to where we belong because we have family members who have other ethnicity,” Williams said.He said employment equity had done an injustice to the coloured community as the majority of people who occupied top positions were African.

“Soweto has almost seven empty schools and pupils are brought to Eldorado.

“Parents in Soweto don’t want their children to be taught by African teachers,” Williams said.

He said there would never be harmony until the issues in the community were addressed.

Wiseman Hamilton of the Greater Eldorado Park United Civic said the ANC government was favouring one group over another.

“The ANC has aggravated this issue by some of the implementations that they have made,” he said.

He said poverty, unemployment and the general sense of being left behind by the new government were contributing factors to the community unrest.