The Congress of South African Students (COSAS) has threatened to shut down private schools. This comes as the reopening of public schools was postponed by the Department of Basic Education.
The government gazette allows for private schools to open on 1 February, ahead of public schools which will reopen on 15 February.
COSAS believes allowing private schools to reopen while public schools remain closed promotes inequality. The organisation also believes reopening schools will put the lives of learners and teachers at risk.
The ANC Youth League joined COSAS in protest, accusing schools of putting profit before lives.
"We cannot have schools that are more important than others in this society. Secondly, this is about saving lives. We are of the view that these schools are open, not because they care about the future and the education of these kids, but because they are chasing profit" said Lindokuhle Xulu of the ANC Youth League.
The Gauteng education department has encouraged independent schools to follow the gazette and not open before 1 February.
Gauteng Education spokesperson, Steve Mabona said the department will be keeping a close eye on schools, as they are expected to remain closed in the meantime.
“As a department we have been saying to all the independent schools that they need to adhere to the call for a delay. It was clear all independent schools will be opening from February 1,
“We encourage them to adhere and not open now and make sure we are safe and do not encourage the movement of people.” said Mabona.
Free State Cosas Chairperson, Katleho Mangoejane has argued that leaders have children in private schools, allowing them to benefit from reopening private schools while public schools remain closed.
Mangoejane said COSAS will wait for the President to address the nation with an update about the lockdown restrictions.
“We will wait for the president to address probably on the 14th of February. We will hear the president addressing how the cases are. We can’t obviously open the schools without hearing what the president has said. Therefore, even the date of the 15, we can’t make it cast in stone as yet. We must wait to hear what the president is going to say and then a date will be later determined,” says Mangoejane.