Court ruling allows Private Preschools and ECDs to reopen

Published Jul 7, 2020


DURBAN –Private preschools and early childhood development centres (ECD) have been permitted to open with immediate effect. This ruling was granted by the Gauteng High Court situated in Pretoria.

As per previous regulation under level 3, preschools and ECDs were to remain closed, however, this was declared unlawful and unconstitutional by Judge Hans Fabricius. On Monday, Judge Hans Fabricius ordered that all private preschools offering early childhood development services, which are from Grade R and lower, may resume with immediate effect.

Trade union Solidarity's Occupational Guild for Social Workers and their School Support Centre (SCC) took the case to court against the Social Development Department. Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu was ordered by Judge Hans Fabricius to pay the costs of all the applicants. The Social Development Department failed to submit court documents.

Marisa Engelbrecht, sector head of the Solidarity Occupational Guild for Social Workers, said: "We are delighted with the ruling. It means thousands of parents will be able to place their children in the care of their competent teachers again for the stimulation and learning that children so desperately need. What is even more reassuring, is that these children will now be in a safe environment again and that the children dependent of feeding schemes will once again be able to learn and develop optimally with food in their stomachs."

Anton van der Bijl, head of Solidarity’s labour law services, said: "Teachers can resume their duties and the many staff members who also suffered as a result of this senseless silence on the part of the department can now look forward to work in a safe way that does not compromise health. This victory is not just a victory for private nursery schools and day-care centres as well as their learners; it is a victory for every South African who wants to stand up to the unfairness of the government’s lockdown measures."

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