Cosas to shut down all schools in Mpumalanga from Thursday

The declaration by Cosas comes after calls by teachers’ unions for the suspension of classes.
The declaration by Cosas comes after calls by teachers’ unions for the suspension of classes.
Image: 123RF/paylessimages

The Congress of South African Students (Cosas) in Mpumalanga province on Wednesday announced that it would embark on a shutdown of all schools in the province as from Thursday. 

The militant student body has also called for pupils from grades 7 to 12 to be sent to educational “camp sites” while classes for the rest of the other grades should be cancelled for the remainder of this current school calendar year.

The announcement comes hard on the heels of calls by teachers’ unions for the suspension of classes.

The SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) on Tuesday threatened that it would implement an “effective programme of action” before the end of this week unless the minister of basic education, Angie Motshekga, failed to heed their call to suspend classes. The union did not specify what kind of action it would take.

Speaking on behalf of Mpumalanga Cosas, Siphesihle Gumbi said the shutdown has been necessitated by the Covid-19 peak season. 

“All schools shall be shut down from Thursday until further notice. We are in the peak period of the pandemic and it will be safer for all learners to stay at home during this period,” Gumbi said.

Cosas national organizer Luxolo Gqamana said they want to save the academic year but not at the expense of the lives of their members.

 “For the past few weeks we have been indoctrinated on how widely and deadly coronavirus was infecting learners but our cries fell on deaf ears. We are calling for all grade 7s to 12s to be tested and be sent to educational camp sites within the ranks (sic) of their provinces to complete their academic year. All other grades should not go back to school this year,” Gqamana said.

Meanwhile, Motshekga said she will engage in the consultation process  with all stakeholders in the education sector.

 Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the purpose of the meeting will be to obtain input on the issue regarding the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic as it relates to schools. 

“The consultation in the sector will be concluded on Friday. The engagements will inform the minister’s proposal to the cabinet at the weekend and once all the engagements have been concluded an announcement will be made,” Mhlanga said.

Mhlanga said schools will remain open until further notice.

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