It doesn’t just rain, but pours for embattled Education Minister Angie Motshekga, with the number of court cases against her and her department piling up.
Mmusi Maimane, chief activist of the One South Africa Movement (OSA), is set to challenge the decision of the reopening of schools in the Pretoria High Court later this week, while the Educators Union of South Africa (EUSA), as well as the Equal Education Law Centre, and Section27 all lining up to battle Motshekga in court to ensure the safety of pupils.
Following an initial dismissal by the Constitutional Court of Maimane’s application to challenge government’s plan to reopen schools last week, Maimane will bring another application challenging the reopening of schools and the decision for government to move from Level 4 to Level 3 of national lockdown regulations. The matter is expected to be heard on Thursday.
On Tuesday, Eusa plans to march from the US Embassy to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, in protest against Motshekga, who they claim is putting the lives of pupils at risk with the premature opening of schools.
The union alongside other organisations will hand over a memorandum to the presidency calling for the immediate removal of Motshekga as minister.
“In just three days of school reopening, we have seen over 2,000 cases of learners and teachers testing positive Covid-19 and a subsequent closure of more than 100 schools across the country. To make matters worse over five teachers have already died from Covid-19,” the union said.
“This is the very same urgency that Eusa was trying to warn DBE of. We are yet to see more infections and death in the coming week. This is all ignored as we are led by corrupt and arrogant politicians who prioritise tenders for PPE’s and food nutrition over human life.”
EUSA has also already lost a bid to interdict the reopening of schools, after the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria struck their urgent application off the court roll last week. They have confirmed they will continue to challenge the department on issues relating to the safety of pupils.
While several schools have resumed classes following hiccups from the education department, education activists and some schools are taking Motshekga to court after she “back-tracked” on a promise to reinstate the National Schools Nutrition Programme (NSNP) to feed nine million pupils from June.
The application brought in the Pretoria High Court by Equal Equal Education and Section 27, seeks to declare that all qualifying pupils, regardless of whether or not they had resumed classes, must receive a daily meal and that the minister and the provincial MECs were in breach of their constitutional duties by not providing it.