On Friday, the portfolio committee on education called on the department to delay the reopening of schools until it complied with coronavirus regulations.
Committee chairperson Matome Chiloane said the reopening would not be allowed until all schools in the province were cleaned and disinfected.
He added personal protective equipment, in compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health, should also be provided.
“The committee will not support the reopening of schools in the province until such time the department has adhered to all requirements and regulations.
“We are concerned about the increasing infection rate in the province and the impact this could have on the schools returning as more townships are emerging as hot spots.”
Chiloane added the committee would not allow the department to use teachers and pupils as guinea pigs.
He called on the department to assess the practical situation on the ground and take an informed decision based on clear evidence.
“The department wants to rush the reopening of the schools while they are still experiencing challenges on infrastructure. Currently, the infrastructure at schools has collapsed. There are not enough classrooms to enforce physical distancing.
“The department has not yet provided water tanks to the needy schools and has not started renovating the ablution facilities at various schools.
“The department has not demonstrated clear assurances over safety of the pupils and teachers. To reopen schools will be suicidal and a recipe for disaster.
“The safety of pupils and teachers is a paramount principle that cannot be compromised,” said Chiloane.
He called on the department to work with all stakeholders to create safer conditions at schools.