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Schools in most of SA far from ready, says Sadtu

SADTU says schools are not ready to open on 1 June.
SADTU says schools are not ready to open on 1 June.
Image: SAMORN TARAPAN/123rf.com

The shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) material at schools might have an impact on the reopening of schools next month, with teachers expected to report for duty today.

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga announced last week that grades 7 and 12 pupils would return on June 1, but teachers' union Sadtu said their members in North West, Eastern Cape, Limpopo, KZN and Northern Cape would not report for duty today.

Sadtu KZN secretary Bheki Shandu said at the weekend the union deployed leaders to check progress made by the department in delivering the PPEs and cleaning of schools.

"The findings of this exercise revealed that most deliveries have been made to districts. However, very few things found their way to schools. To be precise, some schools received between four and eight 5-litre bottles of sanitisers and one or two plastic re-filler pumps for sanitisers. Some districts were fortunate to get eight to 12 disinfecting tins. In other districts, schools were told that three schools would share a pump," Shandu said.

Shandu said the department needed at least two to three weeks to audit, verify stock and make deliveries.

In Limpopo, Sadtu provincial deputy secretary Mulalo Nevari said only principals would return to schools today.

"Principals need to remain on stand-by to collect all available provisions and to ensure that systems are put in place."

In North West, the union said by Thursday, 1,410 schools out of 1,621 in the province were disinfected and cleaned.

Deputy provincial secretary Masaele Cindi said some educators to date have not received permits to travel across the provinces and within.

"The PPEs already supplied were meant for only school management teams and not the entire staff, which was not enough to cater for all expected employees on Monday [today]," Cindi said.

"In one school of 37 employees they only received eight masks, temperature scanner and two litres of sanitiser."

Schools in the Northern Cape and Eastern Cape also have shortages of PPEs.

Basil Manuel, executive director of National Professional Teachers Union of SA, said they were waiting for the final report from the provinces.

"Our members are ready but the question is whether the department of education has delivered," Manuel said.

Asked what would happen to teachers who didn't report for duty as scheduled, education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said last week that the department stance was that where schools were not ready, teachers must not go.

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