The Pretoria High Court has ruled that all private preschools and early childhood development centres may open immediately, as long as they are in line with COVID-19 safety measures.
The fight to reopen these schools and centres was taken to the court after the Department of Social Development said that may not reopen under Level 3.
These facilities provide vital early education and a place for working parents to send their kids during the day. As many sectors were allowed back to work under this level, parents with children in Grade R and below were struggling as they needed to organise alternative childcare.
As a result, the Solidarity Occupational Guild for Social Workers and the Solidarity Support Centre for Schools (SCS) took the department to court over its decision, citing the fact that there was no specific date fgiven or the reopening of the centres. They argued that there was no reason to keep these centres closed as they are fully equipped and prepared to receive children in a safe environment.
In the ruling, Judge Hans Fabricius called the continued closure of these institutions unconstitutional and unlawful. He also ordered Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, the first respondent, to pay the costs of all the applicants.
The ruling outlined how the department had failed to supply the court with documents and how “in a case of this nature, involving millions of children this conduct is unacceptable.”
“This victory is not just a victory for private nursery schools and daycare centres as well as their learners; it is a victory for every South African who wants to stand up to the unfairness of the government’s lockdown measures,” Solidarity told BusinessTech.