* This story has been updated to include the department's response
Johannesburg - The Freedom Front Plus (FF+) is gearing to take Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi on for allegedly violating the Constitution and waging "a campaign" against Afrikaans in Gauteng schools.
The party on Tuesday confirmed it had laid a complaint against Lesufi in the Gauteng Legislature, accusing him of being in contempt of Section 29 of the Constitution as well as violating the Code of Conduct of Office Bearers.
The FF+ claims Lesufi violated the section through his numerous pronouncements made since 2014, from proposed school mergers to proposed amendments to regulations relating to the Admission of Learners to Public Schools.
"Lesufi's hostile attitude towards Afrikaans as a language of instruction and his attempts to replace Afrikaans with English as a language of instruction at schools in Gauteng speak for itself. Since 2014, Lesufi's actions and his public campaign against Afrikaans, labelling it the so-called apartheid language and the language of the oppressor, serve as proof that the MEC is in contempt of Section 29," the complaint read.
The party then cites a 2014 proposal by Lesufi to merge former Model C schools with township schools as well as alleged plans to change the names of some schools in the province as examples.
FF+ MPL in the Gauteng Legislature Philip van Staden confirmed the charge to IOL and went on to accuse Lesufi of violating Section 29 more than 272 times and targeting Afrikaans.
"On July 28, the MEC brought new regulations to school laws in Gauteng and according to these regulations, he's targeting all mother-tongue languages of all groups.
"At the end of the day, when this law goes through, the city kids can't get education in their own language, the same for the isiZulu and sePedi kids... and all the other languages will be phased out and replaced with English and that is a problem."
This in reference to the proposed amendment bill, that if passed will bar public schools in the province from unfairly discriminating against pupils on the basis of race, language, ethnicity, origin, culture, colour, age, religion, conscience, belief, sexual orientation, HIV status or any other illness.
Earlier this year, the court ruled that said 55 English speaking learners could not be admitted at Hoërskool Overvaal due to capacity.
Van Staden confirmed that the matter had been referred to the integrity commission in the legislature, which he says is currently investigating the matter.
The MEC has since slammed the charges as "frivolous" and a "waste of time", adding that he would not be intimidated by "by those who think a non-racial education system is a breach of the constitution".
The Gauteng Education Department in a statement said Lesufi acknowledged the complaint to the office of the integrity commissioner.
"The MEC received a correspondence from the said office on 17 September 2018, requesting him to respond to allegations made by the FF+.
"This is to confirm that, a detailed response will be provided to the integrity office in due course.
Lesufi added that: “We have never insinuated that, Afrikaans will be abolished, this is petty politics and really don’t take such serious. We will never be deterred to make all our schools to be accessible to all our children".IOL