News24

Fewer schools close in W Cape

2010-08-23 18:06

Cape Town - Fewer Western Cape schools were closed by the public servants' strike on Monday than at the end of last week, the province said.

"There has been a marginal decrease in school closures and teacher absenteeism since last Friday," provincial Education Minister Donald Grant said.

"Five percent (75) of our schools closed as a result of today’s industrial strike action. Seventeen percent of educators were absent from work."

On Friday, the ministry said 116 schools, or 8% of the total in the province, were closed and just under 20% of all teachers absent from work.

Grant said there had been no serious violence or intimidation.

"We are thankful that the vast majority of our schools in the Western Cape continued to function."

Earlier, the provincial health ministry said only 72 of the Western Cape's 28 067 public sector health workers were on strike on Monday morning.

National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union provincial secretary Suraya Jawoodeen said the strike was continuing amid a heavy police presence.

"The police have been bullying strikers by not allowing them to picket on the pavements outside the hospitals," Jawoodeen charged.

She said strikers kept emergency lanes open last week and would continue to do so, but accused the police of causing chaos.

Police spokesperson Superintendent Billy Jones denied there had been any bullying by police officers.

He said there was a large police presence at some of Cape Town's bigger hospitals such as Groote Schuur, Tygerberg and Somerset, and said police were there to make sure people had access to the hospitals.