Picture: Themba Hadebe/AP/African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: Themba Hadebe/AP/African News Agency (ANA)

Will teachers heed Sadtu's call to stay at home?

By Sihle Mavuso Time of article published May 29, 2020

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Johannesburg - The effect of the call by SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) to its members to stay at home until their Covid-19 safety is guaranteed in schools will be determined on Monday, say education officials.

The Department of Basic Education and some provincial departments still view Thursday and Friday's return of teachers to schools as a dry run for Monday when Grades 7 and 12 resume their classes.

Asked what action the Department of Education would take against teachers who defied instructions to return to school, spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said it was too early to even think about that.

He also said that while they were happy with the turnout yesterday, they were yet to establish how many teachers wouldn't return because of medical conditions.

In KwaZulu-Natal, the provincial department said being a big province with more than 6 400 schools, the true picture would be clear on Monday.

KZN Education spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa said they were delighted that 80% of their schools had been sanitised and had received some protective gear.

He added that some teachers might not show up and their reasons for this would be looked into instead of rushing to implement sanctions.

“For now there is no clear picture of teachers’ turnout, we will have a clear one on Monday,” Mthethwa said.

In Mpumalanga, the department said its teachers were expected to report for duty today. Spokesperson Jasper Zwane said teachers with underlying conditions would be expected to fill in a form to state their situation.

Sadtu general secretary Mugwena Maluleke insisted that provinces weren't ready to open on Monday as they were still failing to make the workplace health compliant.

“The 12 non-negotiables have not been met and no worker must risk their lives. Our leadership is getting irritated by the employer's attitude. The regulations dictate the employer must clean and disinfect the workplaces. The regulations didn't say parents must risk their children with masks that aren't compliant.”

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