AfriForum BELA Bill Panyaza Lesufi

Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi
Image Source: Flickr

An attack on Afrikaans? AfriForum takes on Lesufi over new language bill

AfriForum has called for the BELA Bill to be withdrawn alleging that Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi will use to remove Afrikaans in schools.

AfriForum BELA Bill Panyaza Lesufi

Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi
Image Source: Flickr

AfriForum has called for Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to withdraw the Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA Bill) for what it says is an attack on Afrikaans by Gauteng MEC, Panyaza Lesufi. 

AfriForum alleged that during a session of the Gauteng legislature on Tuesday, 21 June, Lesufi made it clear that the BELA Bill is not aimed at improving education, but rather serves as a key to the final termination of Afrikaans schools.


AfriForum also submitted comments on the BELA Bill, where it emphasised that some of the proposed amendments, especially those that have to do with decision-making powers regarding schools’ admissions and language policies, are unconstitutional and threaten Afrikaans mother-language education. 

It also stated that if the amendments were to be implemented, it would amount to an irreparable, unilateral and permanent violation of the 1994 constitutional settlement by the ANC government.

AfriForum BELA Bill Panyaza Lesufi
Learners in a classroom. Image via Twitter/@our_DA

“Currently, the decision-making powers in this regard rest with the democratically elected school governing bodies. The Constitutional Court has emphasised in several rulings that this is in line with the provisions of the Constitution and therefore is the best way in which these policies can be established. However, the BELA Bill proposes that the final decision about these policies should rest with the heads of provincial education departments.”


Lesufi allegedly stated that once implemented, he would use the BELA Bill to transform all single- and parallel-medium Afrikaans schools into schools where at least three different languages will be used simultaneously as mediums of instruction.

The DA has also launched a petition against the BELA Bill saying the ANC wants to ultimately rob school governing bodies of the right to determine the admissions and language policies of schools in their communities. 


AfriForum Head of Cultural Affairs, Alana Bailey said that international research has proven beyond any doubt that dual- and parallel-medium educational institutions eventually turn into monolingual institutions where the strongest language (English in the case of South Africa) prevails. 

“This fact has also been proven by the language transformation processes followed by the public universities in South Africa. Lesufi now wants to complete the same process with schools and he uses the race card in an effort to disguise his hatred for the Afrikaans community. For the sake of convenience, he ignores the fact that Afrikaans is the mother language of people of all races,” Bailey said. 

Furthermore, Bailey said that legislation cannot be created to legalise politicians’ vendettas against communities in the country. 

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