Helen Zille Challenges Gauteng MEC Panyaza Lesufi to a Public Debate on the Controversial BELA Bill

Helen Zille Challenges Gauteng MEC Panyaza Lesufi to a Public Debate on the Controversial BELA Bill

  • Helen Zille is challenging Panyaza Lesufi to a public debate on the new education language bill - the Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA) Bill
  • Lesufi has come under fire for his support of the controversial bill, with Zille claiming it's a veiled attempt at controlling language and admissions policies
  • Lesufi is confused that he's become the poster boy for opposition to the bill, as it is not his mandate but falls under the Minister of Basic Education

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Gauteng MEC Panyaza Lesufi and DA Federal Chairperson Helen Zille
Helen Zille has accepted an invitation to debate the BELA Bill on Pretoria FM. She challenged Panyaza Lesufi to do the same. Images: Sharon Seretlo/Gallo Images & GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP
Source: Getty Images

JOHANNESBURG - Once again, the Basic Education Law Amendment (BELA) Bill has DA's Federal Council Chairperson, Helen Zille, in a twist. The former Premier of the Western Cape is challenging the MEC of Gauteng, Panyaza Lesufi, to a public debate on the proposed bill.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Zille stated that she accepted an invitation from Pretoria FM to debate the controversial bill and implored Lesufi to do the same.

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According to Politicsweb, Zille claims the discriminatory BELA Bill is an attempt on the part of MECs like Lesufi to strip school governing bodies of their ability to control language and admission policies.

Zille commented:

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“Lesufi is the proud sponsor of this discriminatory move, and the ANC is attacking mother tongue education, especially Afrikaans, and will destroy our schools. The DA will not stand for this.”

This is not the first time Zille has made her stance on the BELA Bill clear. News24 reported that in early July, Zille, accompanied by members of the DA, marched to Lesufi’s office in protest of the ‘discriminatory’ bill.

Though Lesufi has yet to respond to the call for public discourse, the MEC of Gauteng previously commented that the DA’s criticism of the bill is misdirected.

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“The BELA Bill is a national policy and is not exclusive to Gauteng. As such, the minister is the one that initiates the bill to be introduced to the National Assembly."

South Africans had mixed reactions:

@ResistRSA said:

"No man, she really needs to resign from politics and live out the rest of her life in peace, really... jokes aside, Gog'Helen, it's time."

One of the purposes of the BELA Bill is to give Heads of Departments (HOD) the power to instruct a public school to adopt more than one language of instruction, reported The South African.

The bill has been drafted and an extension for the submission of written comments has been granted until 15 August 2022

Gauteng MEC Panyaza Lesufi denies that BELA Bill “attacks” Afrikaans, says all races belong at all schools

Previously, Briefly News reported that Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi refuted claims that the Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA) Bill seeks to attack Afrikaans and mother tongue education.

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The bill plans to amend the South African Schools Act while addressing several issues, including language and home education. Lesufi held a media briefing to address the concerns around the bill.

His comments follow the Democratic Alliance Federal Council Chairperson Helen Zille's protest outside the MEC's office to denounce the bill. The DA believes that the bill would destroy mother tongue education where it still exists, according to News24.

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Source: Briefly News

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