NEWS & ANALYSIS

Put pressure on Makhura to take action against Lesufi – AfriForum

MEC’s track record regarding the management of his department leaves much to be desired

AfriForum requests Gauteng Legislature to put pressure on Makhura after Lesufi’s statements

6 April 2021 

AfriForum today in a letter to the Gauteng Legislature requested that pressure be put on David Makhura, die Premier of Gauteng, to take action against Panyaza Lesufi, the MEC for Education in Gauteng. This follows after Lesufi allegedly made certain statements which indicate that he encourages meddling in tender processes.

According to Natasha Venter, Manager for Education Rights at AfriForum, the provincial legislature may – according to the Constitution – elect a premier and also remove him/her from office should a premier, amongst others, be unable to perform the functions of his/her office.

“These functions include that a premier must see to it that his executive council, which includes the office of the MEC for Education, perform their functions properly. However, mere days after the recording of Lesufi’s statements came to light, Makhura expressed his support for Lesufi and stated that he had no intention of removing Lesufi from his post. Makhura could hardly have launched a proper investigation into the recording during this timeframe and it raises red flags as to why he would protect Lesufi without any hesitation.”

Furthermore, it also came to light earlier this year that the Gauteng Department of Education had spent more than R431 million on the sanitation and disinfection of schools and facilities in the province by questionable service providers. “Lesufi reacted to this by stating that he was shocked by the apparent misappropriation of tax funds, which indicates that he has no idea of what is going on in his own department. AfriForum, in this case, also demanded that Lesufi resign, but it seems that the Premier in this case also does not plan to act against him.”

In their letter, AfriForum further states that Lesufi’s track record regarding the management of his department leaves much to be desired. “We have brought these shortcomings (amongst other the misappropriation of funds, lack of quality schools, as well as the annual chaos with school placements) under the attention of the Premier in the past, but it seems that he continues to fail to act against Lesufi.

Given the serious allegations against Lesufi, as well as the fact that he is in charge of a department tasked with giving effect to children’s right to education, we hope that the Gauteng Legislature will put the necessary pressure on Makhura to take steps against Lesufi.”

Issued by Chanté Kelder, Media Relations Officer, AfriForum, 6 April 2021