Sadtu threatens legal action over proposed narrowing of social distancing at primary schools

Sadtu threatens legal action over proposed narrowing of social distancing at primary schools

The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) and the National Professional Teachers' Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) have questioned the rationale behind Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s proposed narrowing of social distancing at schools. 

Coronavirus School - AFP

Motshekga said on Tuesday morning that she would table a proposal at the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC)  to lower the Covid-19 social distancing between primary school kids - from the gazetted 1 meter - to half a meter.


She told the media that scientific data shows this is still safe for kids and is also practiced overseas.


But Sadtu’s general-secretary Mugwena Maluleke believes there is still a lack of scientific evidence.


“We do not agree because we have not been presented with any scientific evidence. While we had a meeting on Saturday, Cogta (Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs) published 1 meter, the Department of Basic Education also published 1 meter. So we do not know where the half a meter comes from.”


Maluleke said the union will take action if the NCCC agrees to the new proposal.

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“We will take action, because at the end of the day whilst we want all our learners to be taught, the problem is, it is not the learners or the teacher’s problem . . . it’s the government who is supposed to provide a relief fund to ensure that we get enough mobile classes and enough assistance.”


Meanwhile, Naptosa has questioned the scientific evidence on which the proposal is based.


“I am asking whether such a decision is based on science,” said the union’s Basil Manuel. 


“I am saying that we accepted the 1 meter because it made sense. We also accept that we will not be able to bring back all the schools. But the question is, is this about health and safety or experience?”


Sadtu warned that should the NCC approves the proposal it could turn to the courts. 



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