29 April 2021
The South African Democratic Teachers' Union in the Free State province has noted, with concern, the recent increase in cases of people have who test positive of COVID-19. According to the latest statistics, Free State is identified amongst the three provinces that are leading in people who have tested positive. What is of more concern is that schools are the epi-centres as many learners and teachers have tested positive. The following towns were identified as the most affected: Qwaqwa, Ladybrand and Bloemfontein.
Whilst the cases are on an increase as the third wave of COVID-19 seems unavoidable because of the complacency amongst the teachers, learners and departmental officials, life is now regarded as secondary and curriculum delivery and recovery is being prioritised. As the Union we have lost members during the first and second waves and one life lost is one life too many; we cannot afford to have more orphans as the adults are at high risk due to various factors.
As the Union in the province we have embarked on a campaign referred to "Operation Letsema" to interact with members at school level where, amongst others, we advocate the importance of complying with COVID-19 regulations and protocols. Some of the complaints we received relate to the deviation from the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on COVID-19 where some schools have resorted to the normal operation by bringing all learners to schools, thereby compromising on social distancing. Some no longer follow the protocol when learners or teachers have tested positive.
With Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality and Bloemfontein in particular being one of the areas where the cases of COVID-19 are on an increase, the Union had a fruitful meeting with the DMT of Motheo District led by the District Director on the 28th April 2021 to raise the issues of COVID-19 and other matters that were raised during our visits to schools in Bloemfontein as follows:
SADTU in Free State remains committed to the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign (QLTC) and will ensure that issues that affect her members will always find expression in the bargaining forum. The Union will continue to engage the department of education at various levels to ensure that unnecessary pressure is exerted on teachers and officials whilst acknowledging the importance of achieving quality results.
As SADTU we pledge our full support to all the DMTs and will continue with robust engagements with district directors through our regional structures.
We further call the Free State Department of Education to monitor that schools and offices comply with COVID-19 protocols.
ISSUED BY PROVINCIAL SECRETARIAT
Provincial Secretary: Moloi Mokholoane: 076 811 2777
Provincial Deputy Secretary: Frank Kedibone: 079 886 3317