File Picture Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)
File Picture Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

Reopening of KZN schools goes smoothly

By Thami Magubane Time of article published Jan 26, 2021

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Durban -THE KWAZULU-Natal Department of Education says it recorded a positive turn-out of senior teaching staff on the first day of school reopening.

Principals and members of school management teams (SMTs) reported for duty yesterday, they will be followed by teachers on February 1 and the pupils on February 15.

There were concerns that some teachers affiliated with the National Teachers Union (Natu) might not arrive for duty, after the union directed its members not to report to school, saying it was too dangerous as the Covid-19 cases were not yet under control.

The call however did not have the support of the other unions.

Education Department spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi would only say they were happy with yesterday’s attendance.

Natu general secretary Cynthia Barnes said yesterday that some of their members did not heed the call to stay home, as they were fearful that they could lose their jobs.

She said after the union had directed them to stay home, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) released a circular stating that those who were absent will be charged.

She said Natu and other unions will be meeting with the department’s national director-general Mathanzima Mweli on Wednesday.

Barnes accused the department of not caring about teachers, saying it was putting them in a position where they could lose their lives.

“Last week, teachers that were marking Grade 12 papers returned. Almost every marking centre reported cases, but these teachers are not isolating, they are going back to schools where they could infect other teachers.

“We are getting reports that principals or SMT members should go to district officers with containers to collect sanitisers. That is not their job, some do not even have cars to go there and they now have to hire cars,” she said.

South African Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) general secretary Mugwena Maluleke said Sadtu had no powers to tell its members whether or not to go to work, as it is not the employer.

“We have stated our issues and the employer has decided that the employees must return to work, and we feel that we must move away from that point.”

He said tomorrow’s meeting would focus on health and safety issues in schools, including the replenishment of personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks.

The Mercury

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