Photographer: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)
Photographer: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)

Teacher unions upset with Motshekga over 'alarming increase in Covid-19 infections'

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Jul 14, 2020

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Cape Town - Teacher unions want an urgent meeting with Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to address an alarming increase in Covid-19 infections at schools.

National Teachers Union president Allen Thompson said unions had written to Motshekga, “though the content of the demands may not be the same but we are dissatisfied with the way the department is handling school infections”.

According to Thompson, the department was not giving correct figures on how many teachers and pupils had tested positive, and said it was always stating that those who tested positive did not contract the virus at schools.

“This may not be true because there is no machine that can detect whether one contracted the virus in or outside school,” said Thompson.

“We have taken a decision. There is a need for our teachers and pupils to take a break until August.”

South African Democratic Teachers' Union spokesperson Nomusa Cembi said it wrote a letter to Motshekga on Thursday requesting a meeting.

“The lives of teachers, learners, education support personnel and the public do matter. The union cannot continue sending condolence messages to families of members,” Cembi said.

Khalid Sayed, the ANC's spokesperson on education, said: “Given the fact that we are getting closer to the peak in the province, we are of the view that there should be no phasing in of other grades. Grades 7 and 12 teaching must be suspended once we get to the peak."

Educators Union of South Africa chairperson André de Bruyn said hundreds of teachers and pupils were testing positive daily.

“This does not matter to the department as it seems life does not come above personal protective equipment funds,” De Bruyn said.

He said the union wanted Motshekga “to get a supportive online system available and declare this school year finished", and it has written to the public protector to investigate "everything around the minister and PPE".

@SISONKE_MD

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Cape Argus

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