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:
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.