The Educators Union of South Africa (EUSA) has given President Cyril Ramaphosa two months to fire Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

EUSA Spokesperson Kabelo Mahlobogwane says since the reopening of schools, more than 2 000 learners and teachers have tested positive for COVID-19.

He adds more than 100 schools across the country have had to close and teachers have already died from the disease.

Mahlobogwane says the Department of Basic Education must work with individual communities to find ways they can ensure education for learners continues without putting their lives in danger.

He says if Motshekga is not removed by the end of the ultimatum they have given the President, EUSA will shut down the education system.

“We are seeing now she’s committing genocide, actually people are dying in schools. And instead of her dealing with that and looking into it, she’s sending more people. In July and August more grades are going in, regardless of the fact that water or toilets haven’t been delivered in schools. So we are saying we are not opposed to the continuation of education, but it must happen in a manner that does not leave anyone behind, and in a manner that does not endanger teachers and learners in schools,” says Mahlobogwane.

Earlier this month, the union lost its bid to have the High Court in Pretoria set aside a decision to reopen schools.

COSAS shuts down schools

Members of the student organisation, COSAS, have been shutting down schools the Free State, parts of Cape Town and Tshwane they allege are not complying with COVID-19 protocols.

The organisation wants all learners and teachers to be tested for the coronavirus before they go back to school.

According to COSAS, three schools in Mamelodi were ordered to suspend classes last week after confirmed coronavirus cases were reported.

The move has been disapproved by the organisation’s national leadership.

Concerns have also been raised over masks that do not comply with the standards of the National Department of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The worry over the safety of learners continue despite government’s assurances that pupils’ safety is top of its priorities.