IRR rejects Sisulu’s call for 50/50 race quotas at schools

The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) has accused Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu of threatening the country’s founding value of non-racialism.

This after Sisulu called for 50/50 race quotas at all schools. Sisulu was briefing the media on Tuesday ahead of the ANC’s policy conference at the weekend.

In her capacity as chair of the ANC social transformation committee, Sisulu suggested that the quota be split equally between black and white pupils. She said: “No school should be registered unless they have 50/50 black and white students.”

IRR spokesperson Gabriel Crouse said this is not the first time the minister makes a call for more “aggressive racialism”.

Said Crouse: “Four days after the State Capture Commission criticised race preferencing in government contracts, recommending non-racial value for money as a better priority, minister Sisulu wrote that in the high echelons of our judicial system are these mentally colonised Africans, a racialised slur that mistakenly indexes principles to pigment.

“She insulted the ‘mentally colonised’ further by writing that in America such people ‘are called House Negroes’, who ‘sing from the same hymn book, spouting the Roman Dutch law of property’.”

Crouse said Sisulu’s call to deregister schools that fail to comply with the 50/50 quota policy is not only inimical to non-racialism, but it is wrong in principle and impractical to implement without causing colossal damage.

Crouse added: “85.5% of the population below 20 years of age is black, while 4.5% of the same cohort is white. That means if a 1:1 ratio is to be maintained at all schools, then over 80% of the black population must be excluded from schooling.

“This raises the question of how many students are currently prevented from completing their schooling with sufficient skills to join the labour market.”

“For years, the IRR has employed a ‘leave no child behind’ format to answer this question. This calculates the matric pass rate against the number of grade 1s who entered the public school system 12 years earlier, thereby including in the ‘fail’ portion those who dropped out of dysfunctional schools before their final exam.

“On this ‘leave no child behind’ evaluation, over 80% of South African minors in the public school system are effectively left behind. Given its extraordinarily high budget, and crippling underperformance, South Africa’s public school system has been called the ‘world’s worst’ on a bang-for-buck basis.”

According to Crouse, the introduction of race quotas is consonant with warnings the institute has sounded about the Basic Education Law Amendment (Bela) Bill that it has opposed in parliament.

“The Bela bill will give provincial government officials the ability to take away non-racial school admission policies endorsed by parent bodies and replace them with racial-engineering policies like those Sisulu endorses.

“Minister Sisulu represents a vicious minority that insults people with racial terms like ‘House Negro’ and who tries to box people, even children, by race. This does not help.

“By contrast, the vast majority, most of whom are poor and black, have non-racialist and practical preferences that could be implemented to skill this country up. It is time the silent majority gets respect,” said Crouse.

Meanwhile, DA spokesperson for basic education Bax Nodada said the party is also opposed to Sisulu’s suggestion and “will not stand for it”.

Nodada said the DA was shocked to hear about the proposal of equal race quotas.

“For more than 25 years, the state of our schools and that of basic education have deteriorated rapidly, proving once again that the ANC literally destroys everything that it touches,” said Nodada.

“In the light of this, it was shocking to hear the proposed solution by the ANC’s social transformation committee chair, minister Lindiwe Sisulu, to introduce a so-called ‘50/50’ racial model in schools.

“The DA will not stand for this. The DA has committed itself to the principle of non-racialism that will effectively redress the continued economic exclusion of 30-million impoverished citizens while simultaneously doing away with continued apartheid-style racial classification, such as this.”

Nodada corroborates Crouse’s view that the suggestion complements the Bela bill, saying “this proposed racial engineering by the ANC is strongly in line with their support for the draconian Bela bill and particularly the ‘Lesufi clause’ that seeks to disempower school governing bodies.

“This is a classic example of the ANC misdiagnosing a problem and then giving it the wrong remedy on top of that. Again, the pathological ANC seeks to use race as a way to categorise and treat people, this time innocent school children.”

According to Nodada, Sisulu and Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi are not fit enough and cannot improve the state of basic education in this country, saying instead that they will be its “death knell”.

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Nompilo Zulu

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