Gauteng wants to recruit unemployed people to screen school kids

The Gauteng Department of Education has released a recruitment pamphlet which invites Gauteng-residing graduates and unemployed youth between the ages of 18 and 35 to join its COVID-19 Brigades Programme.

According to the document, these “brigades” will be positioned at schools and in government buildings to assist the Gauteng Department of Education with the following:

  • The screening of staff and learners
  • Data capturing
  • Monitoring compliance – such as social distancing and sanitising.

“Brigades will be trained by the Gauteng City Region Academy facilitators on how to enforce Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) requirements and precautionary measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the department said.

The department confirmed in this document that these brigades will be paid a stipend.

Prospective applicants must complete a form which outlines the terms and conditions by following this link.

MyBroadband contacted the provincial department spokesperson, who said they could not provide any further information at this point but added that clarification would be provided by Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi tomorrow.

AfriForum concerned

AfriForum has released a statement in which it expresses its concern about this advertisement.

It said that the specific role and powers of the brigades are not stipulated clearly.

“It would be more meaningful if the department talked to schools so that schools could decide for themselves whether they wanted to use the brigades,” said AfriForum spokesperson Henk Maree.

“Many schools have active parental and community involvement and such a role can be filled from within the community itself.”

“Where schools do not want to allow these brigades access to their fields, staff and learners, this choice must be respected,” Maree added.

He said that if this is not to be the case, AfriForum will assist governing bodies with legal advice.

“This seems like a further step by the government to enforce their power in schools,” he said.

Worrying authority

In its statement, AfriForum also argued that if the SANDF and SAPS are being widely criticised for their actions during the pandemic, questions must be raised regarding how a few weeks’ training will sufficiently prepare brigade members to act in accordance with the powers they will be given.

Additionally, AfriForum criticised the use of the term ‘brigade,’ which it said has militaristic undertones.

“No parent wants to place his child in a militaristic environment where the brigade is briefly trained and in some cases only a few years older than the child,” said AfriForum.

It also argued that these additional structures and brigades threaten to interfere with school processes and create the opportunity for the abuse of power.

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Gauteng wants to recruit unemployed people to screen school kids