The Department of Basic Education Department (DBE) has lashed out at the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) for publicly calling for closure of schools due to the surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths in the country.
Sadtu, which is the largest trade union for teachers in South Africa, yesterday said schools should be closed with “immediate effect” as COVID-19 reaches its peak.
“The government is extremely concerned about teachers, principals, non-teaching staff who use any platform to attack government for going back to work; ostensibly creating an impression that they should be treated differently from the rest of the other public servants,” the statement from the department read.
“CEM [Council of education Ministers] has resolved to take legal action against all individuals and groups that continue to disrupt schooling,” said the department in a statement. The DBE explained that one of the main reasons for the phased-in reopening of schools, was to make sure the “unfettered right to basic education for all children, is equitably provided,” the statement went to say.
The DBE also said during alert levels 5 and 4 of the national lockdown, most children from the most rural and remote areas of the country could not access any form of online teaching and learning.
Nomsa Marchesi and Belinda Bozzoli from the DA, said Sadtu’s call to close schools was reckless.
“The DA calls on Minister Angie Motshekga to remain resolute and not to succumb to SADTU’s demands. Her responsibility should first and foremost be the children of South Africa, and not SADTU’s political games,” read the statement.
The EFF and former DA leader, Mmusi Maimane have supported calls to close schools as new infection cases show no signs of letting up.