Lesufi must immediately revoke Nasi iSpani directive to schools

Issued by Sergio Isa Dos Santos MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education
11 Apr 2024 in Press Statements

Note to editors: Please find English soundbite by Sergio Isa Dos Santos

Premier Panyaza Lesufi has ordered public schools in Gauteng to make their premises and staff accessible for his politically motivated initiative called “the search for half a million unemployed people,” despite them already being burdened with the responsibility to provide quality education in unconducive environments.

This directive, issued in a memo without prior consultation with school governing bodies, undermines the autonomy of schools, raises serious ethical and practical concerns, and must be condemned in the strongest terms possible.

See memo attached here.

The lack of transparency, consultation, and short notice of this directive is concerning and raises concerns as to whether the Nasi iSpani initiative is about providing jobs and training opportunities to Gauteng youth “Not in Employment, Education, and Training” or an election tool for the current government.

Public schools are already facing immense challenges in providing quality education, including inadequate infrastructure and limited resources. It is unreasonable to force them into participating in a politically motivated job scheme. The priority should be providing the best possible education to the students and not using them as pawns for political gain.

Furthermore, the timing of this directive is concerning, coming before the national and provincial elections. It raises questions about the intentions behind the Premier’s actions and whether this is a ploy to earn political support.

The DA believes in the importance of creating job opportunities and supporting the unemployed, however, this initiative must be done in consultation with school staff and SGBs. The rushed and unilateral decision demonstrated by the Gauteng Premier undermines these principles and shows signs of what to expect should the BELA Bill be implemented in its current form.

We demand Premier Lesufi to immediately revoke this directive and engage in meaningful consultations with school staff and school governing bodies first. Public schools should be allowed to focus on their core mandate of providing quality education without being unduly burdened by extra activities not related to education.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has a plan to rescue the residents of Gauteng from the clutches of unemployment and promote economic growth. We will increase economic confidence, attract investments, and ultimately create more sustainable jobs that enhance the quality of life for the people of Gauteng rather than make a mockery of their plight.