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20 May 2020

For Immediate Release.

As the Congress of South African Students, we regret to inform the Minister of Basic Education that we will not be setting foot in schools until scientists find a cure for the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The World Health Organisation recently stated that this virus is more likely to rapidly spread during the season of winter, and we would not dare test this fact on students.

The number of confirmed positive cases in our country is rising and seemingly people with cosy offices and medical aids see it fit for the future of this country to be thrown to the wolves and to fend for themselves in what is proven to be a hazardous and undermaintained environment. Students, we already have standing grievances that have not been attended to. Whether our classrooms will be sanitised or not, we still do not have fully functioning and clean toilets. We still clean ourselves with newspapers after using the pit systems which you saw fit not to eradicate. This is just a tip of the iceberg, the problems we face as learners at school are much more critical than 70% alcohol-based sanitisers.

We fully understand that some of our parents working on school premises are SBG paid, especially those in S-12 without function C schools. Some of our parents depend on tendering for our schools. As Congress of South African Students, we urge all those financially affected by schools not re-opening to apply for UIF or SASSA Social Relief of Distress Grant that will help them stay afloat just like the rest of South Africans. Feeding Schemes are really beneficial and of great importance but they will not keep us safe from this global pandemic. We openly challenge the National Command Council to visit every school in this country, they must see for themselves that we are not making this up and stop these pompous tenderpreneurs from destroying the future of this Nation and further derailing the NDP.

We also call on SADTU to stand with us and not support this mediocrity of re-opening school, not only the support of our Mother Alliance but also that of SGB's and Public Servants. Us being united will save a million lives. It is not yet safe for us to go back to school. Saving the academic year must not come at the price of killing a black child. DoE is not 100% sure that grade 10 teachers will be able to handle the pressure and be able to carry out the work of Grade 12. As much as this pandemic was an unforeseen circumstance that will ruin this academic year and the lives of many households. We must deal with it soberly because any hasty decisions taken can destroy many lives. As learners we do miss the motivational talks we get from our teachers that make our subjects a lot easier but we also do care for our lives as well as of our teacher's lives.

The unanswered question that drove this decision of re-opening, "which environment is more safe students, sanitised classrooms or the dusty streets of our respective townships?". This is why we plead will every student to stay indoors because roaming around in streets is as deadly as being in a classroom. This virus chooses no race, the only way you can be safe is by staying at home learning and practising at the comfort of your home. If the Department of Education staff wants to go back to their offices so be it, but we are not going to support them and commit suicide.

As COSAS we hate being corned, we are a time ticking bomb waiting to explode. If not handled with the care we will explode. To All those affected we wish you a speedy recovery and our heartfelt condolences to the families that lost their loved one. We are with you in Prayer.


Regional Convener : Mthokozisi Msweli - 062 602 2146

Regional Coordinator : Ntobeko Ndlovu - 064 300 6322

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