Politics may be at play here, says educators union after court dismisses urgent appeal

The Educators' Union of South Africa (EUSA), on Wednesday escalated its call for teachers across the country to arm themselves and be in a position to defend themselves amidst escalating incidents of violence in schools. PHOTO: Jonisayi Maromo / ANA

EUSA made an urgent application to the court based on concerns that government acted recklessly in reopening the country’s schools.

Following a High Court in Pretoria ruling to dismiss an urgent application by the Educators’ Union of South Africa (EUSA), who have spearheaded teacher and learner health concerns amid the coronavirus, the union said it would not back down on its fight to protect the lives of teachers and learners.

EUSA made an urgent application to the court based on concerns that government acted recklessly in reopening the country’s schools, which according to the union has resulted in more schools forced to shut down due to infections.

The court had decided that EUSA’s application was not urgent, citing the following reasons;

1. There was no joiner of the minister of Cogta, education MECs and other stakeholders.

2. The application was made after schools had opened, Eusa’s national spokesperson Kabelo Mahlobogwane says the union saw no reason to include the Cogta minister and MECs as the union was not challenging lockdown regulations or the Disaster Management Act.

“We were challenging the reckless and deadly decision by Basic Minister Angie Motshekga.

“We were never opposed to the continuation of education, we call for a form of education which does not endanger the lives of teachers and learners.

“We have made the judge aware that our application was made before schools reopened. Furthermore, we believe the fact that schools reopened was what made our application more urgent as infections have already forced more than 90 schools to close across the country within two days.”

Mahlobogwane awaiting a written judgment says the union is not ignorant to the idea that politics may be at play.

“Tenders for PPE (personal protection equipment) and school nutrition programs are prioritised over human life.

“EUSA will not aback down our fight to protect the lives of innocent teachers and learners against corrupt politicians and state bullying.”

Meanwhile, Trade Union Solidarity, who have maintained that governing bodies were the appropriate bodies tasked with decisions in the best interest of schools and its learners, said they welcomed the judgment, as it was “impractical” to close all the country’s schools

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