The Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi. FILE PHOTO: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)

Johannesburg - The spat between AfriForum and Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has taken an ugly turn, this time with the lobby group threatening to sue Lesufi for claiming the group was behind an assassination plot against him.

On Sunday, Lesufi, giving an update on the admissions and placement of pupils in Gauteng schools for 2020, said the campaign launched against him by AfriForum was merely a "smokescreen".

This in reference to the lobby group's recent campaign calling for the removal of Lesufi. The campaign included an online petition, a memorandum handed over to Gauteng Premier David Makhura and the laying of criminal charges over the misappropriation of "more than R900 million".

Lesufi blasted the lobby group for abusing processes to advance their own agenda and the numerous attempts to take him out for his stance on schooling in Gauteng.

"We are resolute, all our schools in this province belong to all our children. Gone are the days of schools that belong to kleinbaases alone. There will be no kleinbaas only schools in this province.

"If they want to fight me, they are free to do that... what they've been doing before...they've been following me, they've been following my family, they've been following my children. They've been trying to attack me, they've been trying to assassinate me."

The MEC said while he did not mind being a target, his children and family must be left out of these alleged attacks.

This did not sit well with AfriForum executives, who accused Lesufi of "blatantly lying" in his claim of an assassination attempt and indicating its intention to take legal action against him for defamation.