Founder of the One South Africa (OSA) Mmusi Maimane’s bid not to have schools reopen has hit a brick will after the South African Constitutional Court dismissed his case. Maimane had told the court that the department had made a quick decision in the reopening of schools for Grade 7s and 12s when it was not safe to do so because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
In the judgement passed by court against Maimane’s application, the constitutional court said it has taken into consideration the application for direct access to the court on an urgent basis.The court then concluded that Maimane has not filed a case for straight access and hence the application be declared null and void as it was not in the interest of justice at the current stage.
However, the court did not award any costs to the dismissal. Maimane has told the court that schools could not be opened without addressing issues to do with poor infrastructure, overcrowding, staff shortages, sanitation and public transport.
In his response to the constitutional court, Maimane said, “As you know for weeks, we have been raising the issue of school readiness. We went directly to the Constitutional Court of South Africa seeking a supervisory order to make sure that schools were reopened the right way. We unfortunately lost round one of this fight.”
He also filed the court affidavit to the Government’s lawyer who had a week to file his response challenging Maimane’s case on the reopening of schools.
Government lawyers AGF Mokgale said Maimane’s application against the state sought more relief, that was multi-faceted and needed a careful response from the Government.
In response Maimane said they will go back to the drawing board and strategize on their application. “We will be going back to the drawing board with the lawyers to figure out what the best steps forward will be. The issue remains ever so critical. Making sure that the schools are Covid-19 safe. We have not seen anything indicating that they are, even this week.”