Gauteng MEC of Education Panyaza Lesufi is on a mission to rename schools which were named after apartheid-era politicians. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA)

Pretoria -  South Africans on social media were divided after Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi announced that Höerskool HF Verwoerd in Pretoria will be renamed Rietodale Secondary School.

"My mission in this world is to reverse everything this man called Verwoerd has done to our education system. Others names like Jan Smuts will also fall," said Lesufi in a tweet.

The renaming of the school sparked a heated debate on Twitter with some questioning why it will be renamed and others hailing the move.

In the face of fierce criticism, with some social media users accusing him of tampering with history, Lesufi lashed out. 

AfriForum Deputy CEO Ernst Roets said in a tweet that "Panyaza Lesufi is concerned with targeting well functioning schools much more than with fixing dysfunctional schools." Lesufi then responded by calling Roets' accusations 'baseless'.

When asked why doesn't he focus on basic education, Lesufi said that leaving the apartheid names would be wrong.