The Pretoria High Court has ruled that all private preschools and early childhood development centres may open with immediate effect, provided they do so in line with the country’s coronavirus safety measures.
The ruling comes after the Department of Social Development indicated that the Early Childhood Development Sector, consisting of Grade R and younger learners, may not reopen under level 3 lockdown regulations.
The Solidarity Occupational Guild for Social Workers and the Solidarity Support Centre for Schools (SCS) took the decision to court on the basis that no indication was given regarding a specific date for the reopening of these institutions.
The occupational guild and the SCS further argued that the nursery schools and daycare centres in question are fully equipped and ready to receive preschoolers in the safe environment they have created and therefore there was no further reason to prevent children from returning to school.
“In terms of the ruling, the state has no choice but to allow the reopening of private nursery schools and daycare centres,” said Solidarity.
“Teachers can resume their duties and the many staff members who also suffered as a result of this senseless silence on the part of the department can now look forward to work in a safe way that does not compromise health.
“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.”
The Department of Social Development said that it has taken note of the ruling and that it will make a further statement once it has fully studied the judgment.
You can read the full ruling here.