The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) welcome and fully support the application to interdict the opening of the schools launched by the Educators Union of South Africa. The Application will be heard on the 02 June 2020 at the North Gauteng High Court.
Faced with the extreme arrogance of the Department of Basic Education, EUSA has been left with no option, but to seek recourse in the courts of the land.
The last-minute concession, postponing the opening of schools by a week, is not giving us sufficient assurance that the government will have addressed the concerns of teacher organisations, parents and governing schools.
Many schools, particularly from the black working-class areas, are nowhere close to being compliant with the regulations. There are not sufficient Personal Protective Equipment and sanitisers. Social spacing in the classrooms will be difficult if not impossible given the inadequate building infrastructure. Indeed, thousands of schools do not have even the most rudimentary forms of hygiene, water and ablution facilities.
These conditions are precisely what we have been told will drive the spread of the coronavirus.
Of course, the children from the well-off schools will not be exposed to the same risks as their counterparts from the poor schools.
SAFTU reiterates its demands:
- Testing of all teachers, learners, support staff and parents before schools are reopened and regular tests to be conducted thereafter
- All those who are tested positive to be isolated at home, with the teachers and other staff on full pay
- No victimisation of teachers who refuse to work before tests have been conducted or where schools do not meet necessary standards of hygiene and have insufficient PPE
- Adequate supplies of PPE – masks, gloves and sanitisers – to be in place, and regularly replaced in all schools
- Cleaning and disinfection of all institutions of learning, and an end to pit toilets and mud schools
- Employment of all unemployed teachers to help the struggling schools, universities and colleges
- Scrapping of labour brokering and outsourcing of services
- Free high-quality education at all levels
- An end to the two-tier education system, in favour of a single education system not based on class, geographical and racial differentials, but one in which all schools enjoy the same infrastructure.
- All private schools, private universities and private colleges to be nationalised and put under one education system for all South African learners and students
- School governing bodies to be democratically elected by, and answerable to, parents, teachers, learners and local community structures.
We are calling all working-class communities, teachers, lecturers, learners, students, parents, trade unions, federations and civic organisations to join a nationwide general strike if the government continues to risk the lives of children, educators, support staff and poor communities in order to please the rich and powerful ruling class.