Solidarity’s Social Workers Guild and the School Support Center (SOS) on Monday appealed to the High Court of Pretoria to compel the Minister of Social Development and the Minister of Cooperation with an urgent court application to give a ruling on the reopening of private kindergartens and day care centers.
Solidarity and the SOS have requested the court to put the matter on the roll as soon as 23 June.
Both ministers failed to respond to the urgent letter that Solidarity and SOS sent to them on June 4.
“It is outrageous that departmental nursery schools may open, but that private peers may not,” says Marisa Engelbrecht, head of sector at Solidarity’s social workers’ guild. “It is important for children to learn healthy, that teachers and school staff can properly stimulate children to develop to their full potential, and for parents to allow their children to be cared for in a safe, stimulating school setting while earning an income. . “
According to Engelbrecht, the problem is much deeper than simply preventing children from attending school. She says postponing school attendance can negatively impact children’s early developmental stages, which are crucial for their physical and cognitive development.
Engelbrecht says many children also rely on nutrition schemes offered at schools. They also need other social assistance that they are now deprived of.
“It is clear that by failing to provide clarity on the issue, the government is not acting in the children’s best interest right now,” Engelbrecht said.
Thousands of parents also returned to work at the start of Level 3, making it imperative that nursery schools and daycare centers be opened so that these parents have a home for their children.
Anton van der Bijl, head of Solidarity’s labor law services, believes that private nursery schools are also businesses that provide jobs to thousands of South Africans. “The staff and owners of these schools and centers need to have the right to work well, just as many other businesses now enjoy that right,” says Van der Bijl.
Solidarity and the SOS have been inundated over the past week with support to speed the reopening of private kindergartens.
“It is in the best interests of the child, the parent, the staff and the owners of the schools and that is why we continue to bring this application to the court. If the government does not want to act in the best interests of its citizens, we will fight for it, ”says Van der Bijl.