Kids’ right to life violated: Legal action looms over reopening of schools

Minister Angie Motshekga last week said plans to ensure that teaching and learning resumed could start as early as next week.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga gives an update on plans around the 2020 academic year. Picture: YouTube screengrab.

JOHANNESBURG - The Tebeila Institute for Leadership, Education, Governance and Training and the African Institute for Human Rights and Constitutional Litigation on Sunday said children’s rights would be violated if government went ahead and re-opens schools.

The institutions are planning to take the Department of Basic Education to court to prevent it from allowing pupils back into the classroom during level 4 of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Minister Angie Motshekga last week said plans to ensure that teaching and learning resumed could start as early as next week.

However, the institutions said it would violate children’s right to life as pupils would be exposed to the possibility of contracting the virus.

They said they would approach the Polokwane High Court this week.

“The minister’s plan to open schools does not protect children’s right to life because pupils will be exposed to the possibility of contracting Covid-19. Children, unlike adults, are not responsible enough to look after themselves.”

Meanwhile, the National Teachers Union (Natu) on Sunday said its members would not be going back to work if schools do reopen from June.

Natu president Allan Thompson said: “We want a meeting to sit the minister down and highlight what are the things that have been achieved that can they guarantee that teachers, principals, and management teams will be safe should they decide to go back to school on 11 June. But, if systems are not in place, we can assure you that our members are not going to report for duty.”

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