The Congress of South African Students (Cosas) is planning to shutdown schools that have decided to re-open in defiance of a directive by the Department of Basic Education that schools will only reopen on February 15.

The start of the academic year has been delayed by two weeks due to the high infection rate of the coronavirus in the country.

Cosas Secretary-General, Teboho Magafane says they will march to Curro independent schools in Soweto and Tshwane on Tuesday.

Magafane says they feel Curro management is undermining government’s decisions.

“The National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) spoke to all stakeholders that we have a common enemy which is COVID-19. Those learners from Curro, before they are learners of Curro they are members of the society. Our fear is that they will infect others, hence we are saying that on Tuesday, we are going to Curro,” adds Magafane.

In the video below, SABC News’ Nosipho Mncube reports from one of the defiant schools in Johannesburg:

Defiant schools worry MEC Lesufi

Meanwhile, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has criticized independent schools that have decided to reopen on Monday morning.

Lesufi says this is a reckless behaviour by the schools and action will be taken.

“I have been inundated personally by parents who are receiving letters or emails from their schools indicating that children must come to school for a face to face learning. We really believe it is reckless, [and] irresponsible. Our province is recording unprecedented number of infections and we can’t contribute to those numbers.”

“We are also monitoring those institutions that we believe are behaving recklessly and we are working with law enforcement agencies to ensure that they get the necessary charges if we have to lay charges with law enforcement agencies,” explains Lesufi.

In the video below, MEC Lesufi says they are monitoring institutions behaving recklessly:

Union raises concerns over teachers returning to schools early

The National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) says it does not understand why teachers should return to school two weeks before schools reopen.  

Teachers are expected back at school from February 1 to start with what has been described as administrative duties.

Historically, teachers would return two or three days before learners re-open to complete preparations.  

But, Naptosa in KwaZulu-Natal says this will put educators at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19.  

Provincial spokesperson Thirona Moodley says teachers could simply work from home until the learners return.

In the video below, Education Expert, Prof Mary Metcalfe explains how this could further affect the academic year: