Debbie Schäfer, Western Cape Education MEC, said she never thought that in her lifetime she would be asked by the Human Rights Commission (HRC) that children should not be taught.
The HRC has indicated that it will drag the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) to court over its decision to open the schools this week.
John Steenhuisen, interim DA leader, asked Schäfer on Tuesday about the party’s online Facebook program, CoronaCast, about the province’s readiness to keep pupils safe.
Schäfer defended her department’s move to reopen the schools.
Steenhuisen wanted to know from her exactly what the Human Rights Commission’s objections are.
“The Human Rights Commission must protect people’s rights and one of the fundamental human rights in the Constitution is the right to education. We provide the service and work with the national minister to do so. We comply with the requirements set out in the Government Gazette , but now the HRC believes that if all schools nationwide cannot reopen, no school should open, ”Schäfer said.
Grade 7 and Grade 12 pupils nationwide were expected to return to school on Monday, but the National Department of Education changed its plans on Sunday night and postponed the date until June 8.
However, the Western Cape chose to go ahead and reopen the schools according to the initial plan.
The MEC said she had acted in accordance with the instructions of the national government and she would abide by her decision.
“It is not at all true that our minister challenges or ignores Angie Motshekga’s instructions. To date, we are still working with her to ensure that our schools are ready to open. ”
Schäfer said she was confused as to why the DA is being targeted in the Western Cape for complying with the minister’s requests and measures.
According to the MEC, their teachers and staff worked hard to get the schools ready in time, and if there were schools that were not ready, the week would be used to get them ready.