There was more than a little shock when new Gauteng Premier David Makhura announced he would be moving Panyaza Lesufi away from the education portfolio.
Building his reputation
Lesufi has built a stellar reputation for himself revamping education in the Province since he was first appointed to the position five years ago but faces a fresh challenge as the MEC of finance and e-government.
In early May he spoke to IOL of the reality check he received when he first took on education in Gauteng.
“I remember, one of my first days in office, I went to one of my former schools to announce that I planned on introducing ICT (information and communications technology) and that pupils will use (electronic) tablets and teachers will use laptops,” he said.
“But the pupils laughed and said they didn’t even have proper toilets and that their school’s windows were broken – I was speaking about tablets and Smart Boards. It was a far-fetched dream that shook me. I was out of touch with reality at the time.”
To his credit, he took this to heart and completely changed the way he looked at education in the province.
The people’s reaction
His work has earned many admirers on along the way, who were quick to voice their dissatisfaction at the news he would be changing portfolios.
Well done Premier and I wish you well for the next 5 years, slightly worried that @Lesufi is leaving the education department which he is so passionate about but in most cases the leader can produce the best out of any person pic.twitter.com/uICEfUPw3P
— Phuti (@Amplitorque) May 29, 2019
Why did he move Panyaza out of education🤦🏾♀️that guy was working beautifully hard and made a huge difference
— Chair of Chairs🌻🎀💫 (@RefilweGiven1) May 29, 2019
While others were hoping he would be allowed to tackle other issues in Gauteng.
I wish @Lesufi had gone to Human Settlement, he could address the land question in Gauteng. I hope all the progress made in Education Department is not stifled by the incoming MEC
— Enoch. The African (@enoch_silaule) May 29, 2019
Qualifications of Panyaza Lesufi
Lesufi has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration so he should not be completely out of his depth in his new finance role.
His experience in a variety of roles in government will stand him good stead. To date he has been involved with:
- The Gauteng department of social development
- The Gauteng department of education
- The national department of basic education
- National Prosecuting Authority/South African Police Service
The Gauteng province’s official government website also notes that he “has a deep interest in establishing new public institutions from scratch”, so he’s clearly undaunted by a challenge.