E Cape schools prove Zille wrong: ANC

2012-04-11 22:42
Johannesburg - The number of pupils from the around the country enrolled in Eastern Cape schools disproved DA leader Helen Zille's "refugee" comments, the Eastern Cape ANC said on Wednesday.

"Contrary to ill-informed views pervaded by the Western Cape premier and Democratic Alliance leader, Helen Zille, schools in the Eastern Cape province continue to enrol scores of learners from various provinces of the country, including from the Western Cape," provincial spokesperson Mlibo Qoboshiyane said in a statement.

"We will never, at anytime, label these learners; they are our brothers and sisters, and they are our children."

Qoboshiyane said more than 5 000 pupils from the Western Cape enrolled in Eastern Cape schools last year. Nearly 8 000 more came from other provinces.


Last month Zille referred to Eastern Cape pupils who flocked to the Western Cape for a better education as "refugees".

She tweeted on 20 March: "While ECape education collapsed, WC built 30 schools -- 22 new, 8 replacement, mainly 4 ECape edu refugees. 26 MORE new schools coming."

Her statement was in reference to a protest in Grabouw over overcrowding at a local school.

The "refugee" comment sparked a war on Twitter as many users were angered by her use of the word.

Political points

The African National Congress labelled her a "racist" for making the comment.

Qoboshiyane, at the time, said Zille's comments were inspired by "her narrow attempt to score cheap political points".

On 5 April, youth activist Lukhona Mnguni complained to the SA Human Rights Commission about the comment and asked it to "advise" Zille to retract and apologise.

According to The Times newspaper, Zille's chief of staff and MP Geordin Hill-Lewis said he was not aware of the complaint.

"The only human rights scandal is that hundreds of thousands of young South Africans in the Eastern Cape, and in other ANC-run provinces, are being denied their right to a quality basic education," he was quoted as saying.

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