By Sesona Ngqakamba for News24
Sadtu’s national executive committee held a meeting on Tuesday to pen a way forward as infections spiked in the country, affecting pupils and teachers.
Reading the statement, the union’s secretary general Mugwena Maluleke said its NEC resolved that schools close until the end of the peak.
Maluleke said evidence on the ground showed that there was no effective teaching and learning at schools during the current conditions.
The Mail & Guardian reported that another teachers union, the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa), has als0o called for schools to be closed until after the peak of the coronavirus.
The decision of the national executive to call for the school to close for the period was, among others, informed by the peak, the winter season, which was also impacting the surge, the union said.
“Science evolution” also guided the union’s decision, Maluleke added.
He said while scientific data at first had indicated that children were not susceptible to contracting the virus, this had not been the case at schools.
The union said it had written a letter to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and expected to engage with her and present a plan of what should happen while schools were closed.
The union said it was calling on Motshekga, through the National Institute of Communicable Diseases to use the peak period to come up with strategies to curb the spread and save lives.
It said another development that compelled its leadership to request a meeting with Motshekga was the airborne nature of the virus, which requires new ways of dealing with closed environments, adding that it was not possible to open windows in classrooms during winter.
SADTU calls for the following to happen while schools are closed:
Coordinated, interactive, and instruction radio lessons by teachers get underway.
That well-coordinated television programmes get underway.
The use of mobile phones to access content and the curriculum.
Use of education applications where content will be verified and authenticated not harmful.
Use of social media platforms for pupils to access the content.
Provision of gadgets to pupils and zero ratings of teaching and learning sites.
Maluleke said the union had also noted inconsistencies in the application of Standard Operating Procedures and the Department of Health, which were discomforting on teachers and principals.
“It requires we use the peak and the influenza period as an opportunity to get scientists to work on responses while learners are at home.
“The suspension of classes during this period would afford the platforms entrusted with the regulations and protocols, to amend and train the users. The situation is dire and impacts on everyone in the community, and not only schools,” Maluleke said.
He said the union was also concerned about the isolation and quarantine periods as well as “secrecy of those infected because the “principals were told not to tell anybody.”
The union said teaching and learning could not continue under a situation where schools open and close from time to time because of infections.Absenteeism due to anxieties and fear were also some of the concerns, it added.
“Standard Operating Procedures for the closure of schools upon confirmation of a positive case is not being implemented consistently and uniformly across the provinces. As a result, schools are on autopilot and acting outside of this particular protocol, and that is a risk to the community, [and] not only to the school,” Maluleke said.
South African Airways (SAA) says its future hangs in the balance after its workers went on strike to demand higher wages and protest planned job cuts which forced the state-owned carrier to cancel all its flights.
More than 100 international and local flights international flights were cancelled when the unions began their strike on Friday, which saw SAA shedding at least R200-million – plunging its balance sheet into a deeper crisis.
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and the South African Cabin Crew Association embarked on a strike after SAA announced a restructuring process which may affect 944 jobs.
The striking unions are demanding an 8% across-the-board wage increase. Unions also want to have job security for at least three years and the in-sourcing of services like security, cleaning and ground handling.
According to Numsa and SACCA, SAA pilots recently received a 5.9% increase. The two unions said their members were simply demanding increases as well, which should be higher than pilots as they earn less.
SAA has pointed out that the 5.9% salary stems from a 5-year salary agreement after an arbitration process to which the airline is legally bound.
In a meeting with the striking unions, Minister of Public Enterprise Pravin Gordhan has said that no further financial resources can be advanced to cash-strapped flag carrier SAA. In September, the government issued a R5.5bn bailout to cover SAA’s operational costs, but will be unable to help any more.
The South African Society of Bank Officials (Sasbo) has vowed to shut down all digital banking platforms on Friday, according to an article published by ITWeb.
South Africa’s largest financial union has threatened the country with a complete blackout of transactional services, including cash withdrawals, in response to the increase in digitalisation and job losses in the sector.
South African banks have been advising their customers to use online banking platforms on Friday.
However, Sasbo general secretary Joe Kokela told ITWeb in an interview: “Whatever the banks say, it’s their right; I can only speak on behalf of Sasbo and say the digital platforms will be affected. Those services are all controlled by human beings to be able to perform a function. Our argument is that these services will be affected on Friday.”
Sasbo hopes the single day of industrial action will mitigate the retrenchments that have become common in the sector.
All of the major banks across South Africa will partake in strike action on Friday unless a court rules in favour of stopping it.
If The South African Society of Bank Officials (Sasbo) succeeds on Wednesday, service will be disrupted nationwide. The total shutdown may result in up to 70 000 employees downing tools.
Sasbo, which is affiliated with Cosatu, is is planning five marches throughout the country in Johannesburg, Durban, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. They are scheduled to take place from 10:00 onwards.
The union is striking over the digitalisation of banking practices which have lead to job losses and retrenchments in the sector.
The South African outlined how each bank might be affected:
Employees: 54 000
Customers: 8.12 million (as of 2018)
Response: The bank are waiting for the court’s decision before responding to planned strike action
Other information: Standard Bank are said to have slashed 1 200 jobs in the last year, following the closure of 91 branches across South Africa. The bank is facing the harshest criticisms from the union.
Employees: Around 30 000
Customers: 8.15 million (as of 2018)
Response: FNB envisage staff shortages on Friday, but the group have customers to ease the workload by registering for online banking, or downloading FNB’s official app before the end of the week
Other information: They have expressed their willingness to co-operate with Sasbo, after getting wind of the potential bank strike last Friday
Employees: 42 000
Customers: Between 8 – 9 million. Just over five million people use it as their “main bank”
Response: ABSA has confirmed to Fin24 that they “will deploy a business continuity and contingency plan to mitigate the impact on customers and clients” – they expect a small number of workers to strike.
Other information: Around 187 ABSA branches have been cut from service over the past decade
Employees: 31 000
Customers: 7.85 million (as of 2018)
Response: They have revealed through a statement that some branches will have “a limited number of workers available”, and continued to say: “For optimal service delivery, clients are encouraged to make use of our ATMs and our convenient digital banking platforms to transact.”
Other information: The institution has joined Business Unity South Africa’s application to halt the bank strikes. Around 1 500 Nedbank staff are currently facing unemployment or redeployment elsewhere
Employees: 12 000 – 13 000
Customers: 10.2 million (as of 2018)
Response: A representative told Business Tech: “Over the past year, our staff complement has grown by over 200 people. We also plan to open a further 17 branches in the next six months.”
Other information: Don’t expect too much disruption at Capitec. Their ship remains steady on the bank strike issue
Cash machines, inter-personal bank services and a host of branches are expected to be impacted across the country.
In order to prepare for Friday, consumers should:
- Withdraw money in advance and make sure you have enough to last a few days
- Any tax-related payments to SARS should be made before the close of business on Wednesday
- Register for your bank’s online banking or download their bank app.
By Siviwe Feketha for IOL
Former president Thabo Mbeki has warned about the ANC’s call for the nationalisation of the SA Reserve Bank, saying it would not result in any material achievement. Picture: Dimpho Maja/African News Agency (ANA)
Johannesburg – Former president Thabo Mbeki has warned about the ANC’s call for the nationalisation of the SA Reserve Bank, saying it would not result in any material achievement.
Mbeki was speaking at the Gauteng ANC pavilion at the Rand Easter Show in Nasrec, south of Johannesburg, where he declared his intention to vote and campaign for the ANC in the upcoming election.
Since his defeat by his successor, Jacob Zuma, at the 2007 national conference in Polokwane and his recall by the party in 2008, Mbeki has not been active in ANC politics.
He said while he found it impossible to campaign for the party under Zuma due to wrongdoings, President Cyril Ramaphosa and his government demonstrated a commitment of addressing the party’s challenges.
“It is in that context that it becomes possible to come back and to be active publicly like this,” he said.
However, he criticised the party’s 2017 national conference resolution which called for the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank.
“I don’t know what anybody would gain by that nationalisation of the Reserve bank, except to say we have nationalised. Nothing would change in terms of the behaviour of the Reserve Bank, nothing,” Mbeki said.
He said while many in support of the move said they wanted the central bank to move away from inflation targeting, nationalising it would not result in policy change.
“Inflation targeting is not the decision of the Reserve Bank. It is a decision of the South African government. It is the government which said there must be inflation targeting and these are the targets between three and six percent. That is government and the Reserve bank implements,” he said.