Maimane DA ANC

Image via: Luke Daniel at

Deadline for government to oppose Maimane’s bid to shut schools

As COVID-19 deaths spiked, many are calling for the government to reconsider the decision to reopen schools.

Maimane DA ANC

Image via: Luke Daniel at

Today is the deadline for the South African government to oppose Mmusi Maimane in his last-ditch attempt to have schools shut after he headed to the Constitutional Court.

The former leader of the DA, now the head of One South Africa Movement, was calling for schools to be closed until proper implementation plans were made to deal with the ravaging COVID-19 in schools.  

On Tuesday 21 July, he told his 1.4 million followers on Twitter that today was the last day for the government to oppose his application.


“All we are seeking is that there must be proper implementation plans in place, which are independently audited. This is about the safety of all learners, teachers and support staff,”

he said.

Should the government not oppose his application, then Maimane’s path to the apex court would be cleared, and all the parties would slug it out at the apex court.

Earlier this month, Maimane’s bid to have phasing reopening of schools halted was dismissed by the North Gauteng High Court.

The court declared Maimane’s attempt “unlawful, irrational, unconstitutional and invalid”.

Unrelenting, last week he filed an urgent application for leave to appeal at the ConCourt.


He accused President Cyril Ramaphosa, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga of violating the rights of learners, parents and workers.

The phased reopening of schools had been a contentious issue for many South Africans, with some opposing it, while others gave it the thumbs up.

Schools were closed in March after Ramaphosa imposed the national lockdown regulations in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19. But later, the government took the decision to open schools in a phased method. 

Grades 12, 11, 7 and 6 were already back at schools in some provinces, sparking further outrage against the government with Motshekga in the firing line.

Unfazed, Motshekga stood her ground, and threatened to haul those who opposed the reopening of schools to court, saying this was against the law.

Maimane was not a loner in his calls for schools to be shut, as political leaders including the EFF’s Julius Malema had joined him, warning the government against the phased reopening of schools.

Malema called the government decision “irrational and plainly stupid”.


The biggest teachers union, South African Democratic Teachers Unions (Sadtu) had recently said it had lost confidence in Motshekga.

Other teacher unions, Naptosa and Natu were also opposing the opening of schools, both saying it placed its members, teachers, in a dangerous position.


As it stood, the unions argued that the government was failing to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the reopening of schools was like “throwing us to wolves”.

As at Monday 20 July, COVID-19 deaths were 5173, infections stood at 373 628 while recoveries were 194 865.

At the time of writing the government had not yet indicated whether it will oppose Maimane’s application to the ConCourt.