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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Schools Reopening: Government Asks For More Time To Respond To Mmusi Maimane’s Constitutional Court Challenge

THE GOVERNMENT has asked for more time before filing a responding affidavit to the One South Africa Movement’s challenge to the reopening of schools by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. The One South Africa Movement leader Mmusi Maimane filed court papers this week to challenge the decision by government and the Department of Basic of Basic Education to re-open schools on June 8.

Government legal representatives have asked to respond by Monday, according to Maimane’s lawyers.

Responses by government in the matter were due on Wednesday.

Maimane has requested the Constitutional Court to intervene after the government failed to respond to his letter asking for an explanation on the move to reopen schools.

“It’s not a matter of choice between staying at home and be uneducated or go to school and risk contracting a virus that could kill them. It is actually that we must guarantee the safety of every learner and only the Constitutional Court can give us that because clearly the Department of Basic Education cannot do that,” said Maimane.

Maimane said he has asked the court to play a supervisory role in the process of reopening schools.

In the founding affidavit to the Constitutional Court, Maimane challenged the government’s decision to reopen schools.

In the affidavit, Maimane highlighted poor infrastructure, school overcrowding, staff shortages, sanitation and public transport as the motivation behind his application.

He also argued for a supervisory relief for Level 4 regulations to be restored.

“We seek to invoke the court’s wide remedial powers by seeking structural or supervisory relief stipulating stringent conditions, without which the respondents may not implement any of the Level 3 measures and/or more specifically the reopening of schools for a period of 60 days, during which the constitutional breaches may be cured. In the supervening period and in order to avoid a vacuum, the Level 4 regulations must be restored,” Maimane argued.

(Compiled by Inside Education staff)

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