The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has called on the Department of Basic Education to engage teachers’ unions on the re-opening of schools.

The labour federation says it disagrees with the department’s decision to reopen schools on January 27.

The department says schools do not pose a greater risk of spreading the coronavirus now than during the first wave.

In the video below, education activists concerned about the reopening of schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic:

Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla says lack of a plan could have serious consequences.

“We are facing a very severe second wave and if you look at the number of teachers that are infected [and succumb to the virus], it is a worrying situation. Our position is that we are waiting for government.”

“Our really is to hear what is the plan because so far we are unable to engage when government is unable to present the plan. But to just say that everything is normal and schools are going to open on the 27th, would be naive,” explains Pamla.

Parents slam education department for slow placement ahead of schools reopening

Meanwhile, some parents in Kimberley have slammed the provincial education department for not finalising the placement of Grade R, Grade 1 and Grade 8 learners timeously.

Despite repeated promises that the process would be concluded in December, the department is yet to place more than 11 000 learners in schools.

The parents blame the department’s newly-introduced online application system for the delays.

Parents, whose children are yet to be placed in schools, say they are at their wit’s end.

The parents say with less than two weeks to go until schools reopen, time is running out for them to prepare their children for their new school environments.