Mmusi Maimane turns to crowdfunding in battle with government over schools reopening

28 May 2020 - 10:30 By Cebelihle Bhengu
One SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane is taking the government to court over its decision to reopen schools on June 1.
One SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane is taking the government to court over its decision to reopen schools on June 1.
Image: Twitter/Mmusi Maimane

Mmusi Maimane, through his One SA Movement, is taking the government to court over its decision to reopen schools on June 1, and has appealed to citizens for financial assistance to pursue legal action.

The planned court action follows the government's failure to respond to Maimane's letter asking for an explanation on its decision and a petition, which was signed by more than 160,000 citizens who are against reopening schools amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Monday, OSA wrote to president Cyril Ramaphosa, also chair of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCC), requesting the data relied upon by the basic education department to arrive at its decision.

Its spokesperson, Dipolelo Moime, said the movement has been “left with no option but to approach the courts to safeguard the rights of parents, learners, educators and general schools' staff.” He also announced that advocate Dali Mpofu would head the legal team which will challenge the government in court.

Announcing their intention to go the court route, Maimane asked the public to make financial contributions towards covering the legal costs.

He said the funds received would be audited and subject to strict accounting guidelines.

“I wish going to court was free, I am not selling holy water lana. I am explaining how we can come together to make sure that our voice is heard in court. This is not a church. It’s a movement, strict accounting guidelines are applied and we will be audited.”

One week ago, basic education minister Angie Motshekga said schools will reopen in a staggered fashion, after a two-month hiatus due to the Covid-19 lockdown. Pupils in grades 7 and 12 will be the first to return.

She said the department was working on the rest of the school calendar, which would be gazetted “soon”.

She added that government was doing all it can to follow safety measures but earlier this week, the minister said the plan would be halted should it fail.

“If things are not working, we will have to go back to level 4 ... the same with education. If we open schools and find we experience difficulties, there is nothing stopping us from saying: 'no we are experiencing problems, we have to stop and restart.'” 


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