Maimane’s One SA Movement calls for national school stay away on Friday

One South Africa Movement (OSA) has called for a national school stay away on Friday, 10 July in protest against schools reopening.

OSA leader Mmusi Maimane made the announcement via his Twitter account on Tuesday, adding that the decision was taken after “consultation with stakeholders.”

He said, “We call on teachers and learners to stay home on Friday in protest of the decision to reopen schools before COVID-19 infections have peaked.

“All those who believe schools are unsafe and should remain closed until basic safety measures are in place – now is your time to take back your power from government and stay home on Friday, 10 July. Our demand is clear: Minister [Angie] Motshekga must reverse her decision to reopen schools.”

It’s unclear at this stage which stakeholders OSA consulted. The Movement and Maimane have made repeated calls for schools to remain closed to no avail.

Court losses

Last month, the Constitutional Court declined OSA’s bid for direct access to hear its legal challenge against school reopening. In his founding affidavit, Maimane cited poor infrastructure, school overcrowding, staff shortages, inadequate sanitation and public transport challenges as the reasons for the court challenge.

Last week, the Pretoria high court similarly dismissed OSA’s application, ruling that it was satisfied with the government’s plans to curb the spread of COVID-19 in schools.

OSA expressed disappointment with the ruling, but said, “We will continue to advocate for safe schools on behalf of all the people who have signed our petition to hold this particular government to account and to hold Minister Angie Motshekga to account.”

Maimane also launched an online petition in May against the government’s decision. More than 190,000 South Africans have signed it so far.

“We maintain that opening schools at this stage poses a risk and danger to all students, teachers and support staff as all credible indicators suggest that infections have not yet peaked,” he wrote in the petition.

Maimane’s announcement comes soon after Motshekga published new directions on school reopening dates for the remaining grades.

In a gazette notice on Tuesday, Motshekga indicated that the next date in the phased reopening of schools will be 20 July while the last date will be 31 August.

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