The Educators Union of South Africa (EUSA) has called on teachers across the country to withdraw their labour from Monday 21 June.
The union said this is in protest against the Department of Basic Education (DBE) ’s decision to keep schools open during the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
“EUSA calls on teachers to take action against the bully employer by taking by taking two-day sick leave on Monday 21 June and 22 June,” said EUSA’s spokesperson Kabelo Mahlobongwane.
DBE Minister Angie Motshekga at the weekend said schools will remain open until 9 July 2021.
“I take my cue, with due respect, based on facts and nothing else. So, if parents said children must go to school, I am happy; if teachers said they will be at school, I am happy; if principals say we feel that we can continue, I am happy. That is where I get my mandate, that is where I get my guidance from,” said Motshekga during her briefing on Saturday.
Concerns have been raised about learners and teachers continuing to go to school regardless of the country officially experiencing its third wave.
Last week, World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus said he was worried about African countries as the number of cases seem to be on a rise.
“Cases have increased by 52% just in the past week, and deaths have increased by 32%, and we’re expecting things to only get worse,” said Ghebreyesus.
In the past 24 hours, South Africa recorded 13 155 cases of Covid-19 and 112 new deaths.
Mahlobongwane accused Motshekga of consulting with certain favourable organisations and stakeholders regarding the decision to keep schools open.
Mahlobngwane said this move clearly shows that the lives of teachers and learners are not taken seriously by the minister, her department and the stakeholders she consulted.
During her briefing at the weekend, Motshekga said all provinces agreed that any infection is one too many but that the current situation the sector finds itself in does not warrant that schools should be closed.
“Should there be infections, there is a strategy to deal with this and that will be on a school to school and province to province basis,” she said.
EUSA has also slammed the DBE’s efforts urging teachers not to take the vaccine.
According to reports, nearly half a million teachers set to be vaccinated starting this week Wednesday.
“We categorically reject any vaccine that is still under trial as teachers are not guinea pigs,” said Mahlobongwane.
Adding that the Minister announced a long time ago that her intention was to test waters with the lives of teachers.
EUSA also advised that government consider vaccines from countries that have proven to have successfully dealt with the virus.
Mahlobongwane said China and Russia are examples of countries that have proven to have dealt with Covid-19 vaccinations successfully.
He said should the department fail to take educators seriously this week when they take sick leave, they will shut down schools physically.
Mahlobongwane did not make clear on how they plan on taking this further. However, he said should the department not respond to their action accordingly by day two, the union will this week head to schools and shut them down.