IFP: Failure to pay cleaners puts lives of pupils and teachers at risk

The IFP is concerned about reports regarding pupils at Bechet High School in Sydenham, where parents have apparently been urged to make a decision regarding the safety of their children, after a pay dispute halted the sanitising of classrooms.

This is yet another case of ineptitude by the KZN Department of Education. The KZN MEC of Education, Kwazi Mshengu – as political head of the Department – is supposed to know what is happening in schools during the Covid-19 pandemic. He must be hands-on and stop relying on departmental officials. It must not be ‘business as usual’ – things must change. We believe that district offices should compile reports on a daily basis about what is happening in their schools – before disaster strikes. The time for complacency, followed by knee-jerk reactions by the senior leadership of the Department, is over. The Department must be proactive in dealing with the issues that are placing the lives of teachers and learners at risk during this challenging period.

Failure to pay those responsible for sanitising classrooms in schools is nothing but a recipe for disaster. The Department should shoulder the blame, if and when a learner or teacher is found to have contracted Covid-19. Furthermore, we call upon parents to ensure that their children are safe.

We urge the KZN MEC of Education, Kwazi Mshengu, to ensure that the Bechet High School issue is dealt with immediately, as this situation jeopardises the safety of learners and teachers.

In the same vein, we further welcome the announcement by the Department of Education that Grade R learners will no longer return to school on the 6th of July 2020. We were worried that these pupils would not be able protect themselves from Covid-19.

Mrs Thembeni Madlopha Mthethwa, MPL
IFP Spokesperson for Education
071 884 3844