EFF rejects the Department of Education’s homicidal plans to re-open more grades
2 July 2020
The Economic Freedom Fighters rejects the Department of Basic Education's murderous plan to re-open schools for more grades despite 775 schools being affected by COVID-19.
There has been a spike of cases in schools amongst teachers and learners since the re-opening for grades 7 and 12 learners on 8 June 2020. The negligent decision by the Department to re-open schools has already resulted in at least 523 learners and 1,169 teachers being infected by COVID-19 hardly four weeks into the re-opening of schools.
According to recent statistics, at least 10 South African children between the ages of 10 and 19 have died from COVID-19, which completely disproves the notion that young people and children are less susceptible to contracting the virus, a logic which has been at the centre of re-opening of schools.
The decision to re-open schools for more grades essentially ends the lockdown because the Department of Basic Education wants to engage in a dangerous experiment by putting as many as six million learners at risk of contracting COVID-19. It is no secret that as many as 3,800 schools mostly in rural areas still rely on pit latrines for sanitation and over 3,500 schools are without adequate access to water.
As things stand, South Africa has 159 333 confirmed cases of COVID-19. There are 2 749 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths and there continues to be an increase in both cases and deaths.
The Economic Freedom Fighters reiterates that if it is safe for millions of learners to return to contact teaching and learning, the same must be for members of parliament, provincial legislatures and municipal council across the country who are currently conducting their work from the comfort of their homes.
The same Department which has not been able to meet its own minimum Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure simply cannot be trusted to keep millions of learners safe when the world is still learning about how this virus affects children.
Furthermore, the lack of readiness of schools qualitatively is central to the spike in infections in schools. .SchooIs do not have running water, adequate personal protective equipment, sanitation and scholar transport. Learners are still walking long distances to school. We have seen the rape of grade 12 learner recently from Ramotshabi Secondary School and a grade 7 learner from Rammutla Primary School in Limpopo province who were raped while walking from school.
We call on the Department of Basic Education to reconsider the decision to re-open more grades. Schools have barely been able to cope since the return of grades 7 and 12, and yet the Department is pushing other grades back to school.
To continue in this direction is to gamble with the lives of children and we will hold Cyril Ramaphosa personally responsible for the mass infection and death of children.
Issued by Vuyani Pambo, National Spokesperson, EFF, 2 July 2020