Politicians oppose proposed plan to reopen schools

30 April 2020 - 09:41
By Unathi Nkanjeni
Pupils in grades 12 and seven could be the first to return to school after lockdown.
Image: SAMORN TARAPAN/123rf.com Pupils in grades 12 and seven could be the first to return to school after lockdown.

Politicians have opposed the plan to reopen schools in SA, saying it is a rushed decision.

On Wednesday, the department of basic education announced that grade 7 and 12 pupils may be going back to school on May 18.

The decision was met with outrage as many politicians weighed in with their objections.

Despite plans to implement “non-negotiable” health and safety procedures, political parties including the EFF were not convinced that the safety of students could be guaranteed.

In a statement, the party said the rushed plan to reopen schools was “reckless and homicidal”.

“It is a plan that will send school children, teachers, and workers to early graves and compromise the future of this country indefinitely,” the EFF said.

“South Africa is yet to reach its peak of infections and deaths, but the move to open schools that [is] directly linked to the move to open the economy will lead to a state engineered massacre. None of the decisions are based on science or the appreciation of human life.”

The Western Cape education minister Debbie Schafer said no school in the province would be opening on May 6.

“In a presentation to national parliament today, the department of basic education made a presentation with tentative dates for the reopening of schools across the country. These dates were not definite and do not constitute an official announcement,” said Schafer.

“This has caused an understandable level of confusion and anxiety for schools, teachers and parents. We will not be in a position to receive learners next week.”

On social media politicians, including Mmusi Maimane and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, also expressed their views.