The Star Early Edition

‘Reopening schools was without a plan’


BY SENDING children back to school, the government was releasing them into a “raging fire”, counsel acting for former DA leader Mmusi Maimane argued in the North Gauteng High Court yesterday.

Maimane was arguing against the reopening of the schools at this stage. He asked a full bench, headed by Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, to urgently overturn the decision by the government to move from level 4 of the lockdown regulation­s, to level 3.

Advocate Dali Mpofu, acting for the applicant, argued that the government was simply not ready to ease the regulation­s in the light of the soaring number of Covid-19 infections.

He said Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize admitted that according to the World Health Organizati­on, South Africa did not qualify to move to level 3.

Mpofu argued that the lockdown regulation­s could only be eased once the number of infections had been reduced and once the government had a constructi­ve plan in place on how to deal with these issues.

He said Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s stance was that there was a plan in place to safeguard the schools, but this was not enough.

“We need an implementa­tion plan... She can promise there will be water, but it’s not up to her. She must speak to the Minister of Water and Sanitation about it. We want to know what is the plan... We say there is no plan in place,” Mpofu said.

He argued that the two legs of what they are asking – that schools not reopen and that the government’s decision to move from level 4 to level 3 be overturned – went hand in hand.

He further argued that the government’s stance that children were not susceptibl­e to the virus was meaningles­s, as they could take it back home, where there may be family members with comorbidit­ies.

Arguments on behalf of the government, including President Cyril Ramaphosa and Co-operative Governance and Traditiona­l Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, were mainly based on the applicants’ bid to have the move from level 4 to level 3 overturned.

It was argued that the initial lockdown was a success and it allowed time to re-equip the country’s health care facilities. The private sector, community organisati­ons and South Africans also had time to take measures to reduce the transmissi­on of the virus.

In view of these interventi­ons the government determined that the country was better placed to ease some of the restrictio­ns, the court was told.

Judgment was reserved.

 ??  ?? LEADER of One South Africa Mmusi Maimane. | African News Agency (ANA)
LEADER of One South Africa Mmusi Maimane. | African News Agency (ANA)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa