Provincial schools are catering for more than 250,000 undocumented learners, says Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.
He was appearing before the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) inquiry looking into service delivery problems in Alexandra, as well as possible maladministration in the controversial multimillion-rand Alex Renewal Project.
Princess Ka-Siboto from the SAHRC asked Lesufi: “What’s the impact of undocumented learners on the education system?”
Lesufi replied: “The pressure on the system is immense, some of them [undocumented parents] want us to teach their children in their languages.”
“It’s R18,000 per learner, that is the amount that we spend. So, if you check 250,000 [learners] and times that by R18,000, that is the amount of money that we are losing,” Lesufi added, explaining how the admissions of non-documented learners affected his department’s budget.
Lesufi said he has no choice but to follow the law as all children has the right to education.
“No one must be chased; we’ll share whatever we have. We don’t want to expel them and then the SAHRC knocks at our doors. And the Department of Home Affairs would say we are breaking the law.”
The MEC added that pressure on resources was also huge and some foreign pupils were also demanding to be taught in their languages.