The Gauteng Education Department says a fair consultation process was undertaken in the renaming of Hoërskool Hendrik Verwoerd in Tshwane .
On Monday, MEC Panyaza Lesufi announced that after a two-year process, the school will now be named Rietondale Secondary School.
According to a school circular from June 2016, it was felt that the name Verwoerd is based on a "person who acted in a manner that is contrary to the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and committed human rights violations".
Today, we formally approved the renaming of Höerskool HF Verwoerd to Rietodale Secondary School. My mission in this world is to reverse everything this man called Verwoerd has done to our education system. Others names like Jan Smuts will also fall #NomoreHöerskoolHFVerwoerd pic.twitter.com/pUdoq3KkQJ— Panyaza Lesufi (@Lesufi) May 20, 2019
The education department's Steve Mabona says the decision did not come from the department but the parent body.
He says parents were part of the consultation process and the majority came to a decision to change the name.
We support it. Schools are community orientated that is why we will not say no when the school governing body allow the community to participate in the schooling environment. This community felt that the name is not appropriate to them and we supported the initiative.— Steve Mabona, spokesperson - Gauteng Education Department
They initiated but we had to guide them through the process in making sure no one will be left unsatisfied with the process but you know how a democracy works...majority rules.— Steve Mabona, spokesperson - Gauteng Education Department
Mabena says the insinuation that the MEC is targeting Afrikaans speakers is 'hogwash'.
Meanwhile AfriForum's project coordinator for education Carien Bloem has made it clear that the organisation is not opposed to the renaming as the demographic of the school is primarily English.
Bloem says however there are not enough mother-tongue schools.
We were not aware of the fact that the school's name is going to change but if it is something that came from the school and the SGB then we understand it. We understand that issues change in our country. If you look at the demographic environment in which the school is situated, there are a lot of English learners going to the school.— Carien Bloem, Project coordinator - Afriforum
The problem that AfriForum has is when a school's name is just being forced to change because of political pressure. We can see it is not politically driven and it came from the school and parents.— Carien Bloem, Project coordinator - Afriforum
Afrikaans schools are not exclusive for a certain race. The thing we must understand is you can go to a Afrikaans school if you understand the language.— Cariem Bloem, Project coordinator - Afriforum
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