Sending children back to school next week is dangerous - Eusa

The Educators’ Union of South Africa threatened to take legal action against Motshekga if she went ahead with the plan to reopen schools from next week.

FILE: Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga at a media briefing on 16 March 2020 on plans by government to curb the spread of the coronavirus in South Africa. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG/DURBAN - The Educators’ Union of South Africa (Eusa) on Tuesday said Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga's decision to send teachers and pupils back to school while the country grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic is not responsible.

Eusa threatened to take legal action against Motshekga if she went ahead with the plan to reopen schools from next week.

The union, which represents more than 27,000 teachers, said schools were not equipped to deal with an outbreak of infections.

“The Department of Basic Education will not deliver on any of the lies that they’re spreading on social media. The minister went on TV and said Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, and Western Cape were ready to open, yet Panyaza Lesufi released a list of Gauteng schools that were not ready,” said Eusa spokesperson Kabelo Mahlobogwane.

He added that they were concerned about the winter period causing more infections than summer, with the cold months officially beginning in SA at the moment.

Listen to Eusa’s interview on Radio 702 below:


Meanwhile, the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) said COVID-19 had exposed the department on issues it had raised for many years such as a lack of sanitation and proper infrastructure.

The union was set to meet with education officials in KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday and called for clear plans on the department’s preparedness for the safety of teachers when schools reopened.

Sadtu said the KZN Education Department needed at least two weeks before it could open schools for teachers.

The union’s KZN secretary Bheki Shandu said they would use Tuesday’s meeting to assist the department on steps it needed to take before teachers could return to schools.

“After having conducted some analysis, we came to the conclusion that the department will not be ready to open schools. And we are also indicating that the bulk of personal protective equipment [PPEs] that must move to schools has not yet been delivered,” Shandu said.

The provincial education department maintained it had procured enough PPEs for all teachers and pupils at over 6,000 schools for the next six months.

KZN Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu said they were still appealing for R1 billion from national government to ensure a smooth resumption of the academic year.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.