Julius Malema, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) president has called for the shut down of schools and crèches as the country inches closer to the third wave of the coronavirus.
Speaking at a press briefing on Thursday Malema said schools needed to close “immediately” before children die in numbers.
According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, the country “ technically entered the 3rd wave today [Thursday] as the national 7-day moving average incidence (5959 cases) now exceeds the new wave threshold as defined by the Ministerial Advisory Committee”.
Malema said it was so painful to lose elderly people in the first and second wave.
Imagine now when we are going to have to bury kids, he said.
“Our children are going to die. We give the minister seven days to close schools. Failure to do so we will have to close schools ourselves as the EFF because we are not going to allow our children to die. We are not going to allow that.
“Can you imagine now when we are going to have to go and bury kids the way we were burying old people,” said Malema.
Malema said it was becoming clearer now that children are affected by the virus as more and more were testing positive for the virus.
“Let our children be safe, we will rework the programme the same way we did in the past to get them to cope with this crisis we are confronted with. It is going to be more dangerous, children are sick and children are testing positive,” he said.
In March last year, when Covid-19 cases were increasing, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the closure of schools.
The first group of learners ended up getting back in class in June while the last group went back in August.
The department of basic education trimmed the curriculum for grades 1 to 11 in order to make up for the time they had lost in class.
In recent weeks, provinces such as Northern Cape, Free State, the North West and Gauteng announced that more learners are testing positive for the virus in schools compared to teachers.
In the Free State a learner succumbed to the virus.
As Malema made the call, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga was in Limpopo monitoring schools ahead of primary school learners going back to school daily on 26 July as well as all learners in special education needs schools.
At the press briefing Malema said it must be private schools that must lead the campaign to close schools because they had “power and sometimes even tell the government what to do”.