SADTU North West Media Statement on the re-opening of schools

23 May 2020

The readiness of the Department of Education in the North West is based on inaccuracies

The South African Democratic Teachers' Union (SADTU) in the North West province has noted the address by the Minister of Basic Education on 18 May 2020 regarding the re-opening of schools for all teachers and support staff on 25 May 2020 and for Grade 7 and Grade 12 learners on 1 June 2020.

We appreciate the engagement we had with the North West Department of education on the 20th of May 2020 with other stakeholders in education wherein the state of readiness was presented during the Provincial Steering Committee meeting.

The North West Department of Education in their circular 22/2020 issued on the 17th of May 2020 indicated that the new date for the SMT's and teachers to return to work will be communicated in due course which has not happened to date.

SADTU in the North West held a special Provincial Executive Committee meeting to receive and progress the report from the Provincial steering committee on the state of readiness for the re-opening of schools. The SPEC further reflected on the statement issued by North West department of education including the interview earlier on the day by the Honourable MEC Matsemela.

The SPEC, upon reflecting on all of those above and receiving updates from the six (6) regions of SADTU in the province, noted the following to mention but a few:

* By Thursday 20th May 2020 1410 schools out of 1621 schools in the province were not cleaned and disinfected according to the report we received.
* Some educators to date have not received permits to travel across the province and within.
* The PPE's already supplied were meant for only SMT's and not the entire staff which was not enough to cater for all expected employees on Monday the 25th of May 2020 e.g. in one school of 37 employees they only received 8 masks, screener and 2 litre sanitizer.
* The Screeners are not yet appointed
* Some schools don't have running water and such is not yet addressed.
* There are no clear guidelines provided to deal with comorbidities.

On the basis of the above and others the Special PEC came to a conclusion that the Department of Education in the North West is indeed not ready to receive teachers and support staff on Monday the 25th May 2020.

The SPEC further resolved to caution the Department to stop misleading the public that they are ready for the re-opening of schools.

We therefore resolved to advice our members not to report for duty on Monday 25th until the department has addressed all the issues that are pending and guaranteed the safety of our members by attending to all COVID-19 precautionary measures.

The provincial education department is not taking the preventive measures as outlined in the COVID19 seriously. The continued use of inaccurate data to make decisions will put the lives of workers and learners in danger. We warn the Minister, MEC and other officials to stop this grandstanding and arrogance and listen to all stakeholders because no one is refusing to go to work. We need an inclusive process that is based on accurate data and honesty.

Please Stay at Home. Wash Your Hands Regularly with Soap and Water or Sanitize.

Always wear a mask in Public. Observe Social Distancing.

ISSUED BY: SADTU NW Secretariat

CONTACT:

Provincial Secretary, George Themba 071 385 4659
Deputy Provincial Secretary, Masaele Cindi 067 412 7053