Picture: Carole LR/Pixabay
Picture: Carole LR/Pixabay

Solidarity goes to court over reopening of private nursery schools

By Chad Anthony Williams Time of article published Jun 9, 2020

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Cape Town - Labour union Solidarity’s Occupational Guild for Social Workers and the School Support Centre (SSC) have launched an urgent court application at the Pretoria High Court to force the ministers of social development and cooperative governance to make a decision on reopening private nursery schools and daycare centres after a Covid-19 lockdown.

The application comes after both ministers failed to respond to an urgent letter sent to them on the issue last week, the guild and SSC said in a statement issued on Monday.

“It is outrageous that departmental nursery schools are allowed to open, but that their private counterparts are not allowed to open yet,” said Marisa Engelbrecht, sector head for the Solidarity Occupational Guild for Social Workers.

She said it was important for parents to be able to leave their children at a safe and stimulating school setup where they could be taken care of, while out earning an income.

“In the early development phases of children, physical and cognitive development are of extreme importance, and postponing school attendance may hold extremely negative consequences," Engelbrecht added.

Many children attending these schools relied on the nutrition feeding schemes they offered, and also needed other forms of social help which they were now being deprived of, she said.

By failing to provide clarity on this issue, the government was not acting in the children’s best interests.

Head of labour law services at Solidarity Anton van der Bijl said private nursery schools were also businesses that provided jobs to thousands of South Africans. 

He said the staff and owners of these schools and centres had the right to resume business healthily, as many other companies were now able to after the government relaxed some lockdown regulations.

"It is in the best interests of the child, the parent, the staff and owners of these schools and that is why we continue to bring this application before the court. If the government does not want to act in the best interests of its citizens, we will fight for those interests,” van der Bijl added.

African News Agency/ANA

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