'I will never apologise to racists' - Panyaza Lesufi agrees to mediation process with AfriForum

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Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi
PHOTO: Muntu Vilakazi
  • Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has agreed to participate in a mediation process with lobby group AfriForum over statements he made last year.
  • The process will take place outside of court proceedings relating to his claims that the group attempted to assassinate him and stalked his children.
  • Lesufi says he will never bow to right-wing formations or racist organisations.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has agreed to participate in a mediation process with lobby group AfriForum outside of court proceedings, relating to his claims that the group attempted to assassinate him and stalked his children.

He has also agreed to be part of a joint media statement after AfriForum agreed that it would not attack his family or use violence.

According to the statement, Lesufi regrets the utterances he made last year.

"The MEC states that he is under regular attack from various sources and that his utterances should be viewed against such background," the statement read.

The statement continued: 

The MEC accepts that his utterances regarding AfriForum have caused a rift between the parties. However, the parties hereby commit to constructive engagement in an attempt to prevent a repeat of such a situation and to address any issues which may arise in the future.

When he briefed the media on education matters on Sunday, Lesufi said he would never back down from confronting racists.

He said the lobby group took him to court over his statements but then asked the court for mediation instead.

READ | AfriForum files papers in defamation suit against Panyaza Lesufi over 'assassination' claims

Right-wing organisations have identified him as a tool to fight for their own interests, he said.

"It is common knowledge that the far right-wing or racist organisations in this country have identified me as a tool to fundraise, to attack, to utilise for votes or use to demonstrate that they can take up people who don't agree with them head on. It's common knowledge that I stand for non-racialism and I can't tolerate racism."

"I can't tolerate a racist place called Orania, where they have their own flag outside the flag of our country, have their own currency and even their own curriculum. On the basis of that, racist formations have identified me as a person that want to eliminate that particular place and have unleashed various accusations against me."

He said AfriForum indicated during mediation that they were committed to talks and to working with him peacefully.

He said: 

Therefore there was no need for me to doubt their bona fides. I accepted their word, and on the basis of that, a win-win joint statement was agreed upon for peace. I will never apologise to racists. Racists are mindless and useless. If there is any racist formation that think I will bow to them, they're wrong...I will never do that.

According to AfriForum's Kallie Kriel, Lesufi "complied with AfriForum's demands" by retracting the allegations.

"There is no reason therefore to continue with the libel actions against Lesufi. Taxpayers would have paid for Lesufi's legal fees in the libel case. However, since R431 million has already been plundered by Lesufi's department in the school sanitation debacle, AfriForum wants to prevent more taxpayer money from being wasted on Lesufi's legal costs."

ALSO READ | Lobby group AfriForum demands the dismissal of Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi

The MEC said he would not rest until places such as Orania – an Afrikaner-only area in the Northern Cape – are done away with.

"I don't tolerate racism. We know what Bantustans created in this country – we cannot allow a new Bantustan under the disguise of a cultural village. I will never apologise to racists. What I've done is accept the word of AfriForum that they will not attack my family or exercise violence in our differences, and for that, I've accepted it."

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