SADTU Media Statement on the state of readiness to open schools

8 May 2020

The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) will not allow any of her members to report for duty on Monday because the Department of Basic Education has failed to meet the minimum requirements to ensure safety as per COVID 19 Alert Level 4.

The Basic Education Minister, on 30th April, announced that School Management Teams and teachers should report to schools as follows: 11th of May (Monday) School Management Teams; 18th of May (Monday) teachers. She committed that the non-negotiables would be delivered to schools before they opened. These non-negotiables included among others, the fumigation and disinfection of schools, proper school infrastructure in the form of proper toilet facilities, observance of social distancing inside the classrooms and on court yards, reduction of class sizes, provision of soap, sanitizers and masks, screening of learners, teachers and support personnel, social distancing in the transportation of learners to and from schools, provision of psychosocial services to assist learners as well as teachers to build resilience and calm down fears among learners and teachers.

The Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) have not been procured for the office based personnel, school-based educators and education support personnel. The disinfecting of schools and offices has not even reached 25%. It is unlawful to expect workers to report for duty when their safety is not guaranteed. SADTU has an obligation to advise her members not to put their safety and that of their families and communities in danger by reporting for duty before these safety precautions are in place.

The PPE’s must be provided by the employer in workplaces. Screening must take place on a daily basis and in places where workers and leaners were denied water and sanitation, these should be provided ty the employer. The sanitizing of working areas and surfaces has to happen in order to fight the virus. We call on the Department of Basic Education to comply with these non-negotiables as we don’t want the lives of our members to be in danger.

We call on our members who were to travel from various provinces to remain safe in their homes until the amendment of the regulations by the competent authority as requested by teacher unions.

Our members and workers cannot be subjected to this emotional torture caused by lack of communication by the Department. The Department should relieve the workers, who commute between the provinces on a daily basis, from the burden of anxiety by providing clarity on how they should commute. If politicians were living with the people, they would have provided regulations that would clarify how they should be treated.

Issued by: SADTU Secretariat

CONTACT:

General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke
Deputy General Secretary, Nkosana Dolopi
Media Officer, Nomusa Cembi