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John Teffo, PSA Provincial Spokesperson.

PSA: Attack on teachers with comorbidities irresponsible

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The Public Servants Association (PSA) is of the opinion that the accusation by the Provincial Coronavirus Command Council (PCC) that some teachers submitted fake doctors’ certificates regarding comorbidities to avoid returning to work on 6 July, is an attack on the integrity of the teaching profession.
The expressed their concern with the Limpopo Government’s handling of applications of teachers with comorbidities after learning that the Department of Health, with the assistance of the police, is investigating the authenticity of submitted documents.
More than 700 applications for comorbidities concessions were received, mainly from teachers, but only 400 were granted.
According to the council, the department picked up on fake medical certificates provided to applicants from a certain section of doctors.
“The PCC’s statement indicated that although it received more than 700 applications, only 400 were granted. The insinuation that teachers consult private doctors and submit medical certificates that do not conform to protocol, is not enough reason to call for an investigation.
“Limpopo Government must understand that the requirement to submit a medical report does not waive the doctor-patient relationship,”said John Teffo, PSA Provincial Spokesperson said.
Teachers’ right to privacy must be respected and they cannot be expected to publicise their health conditions, he added.
“Unless there is consent, doctors cannot disclose the nature of the illness. Evidence stating that a teacher has conditions that will make him/her prone to Covid-19 infection, should suffice unless the Department wants to peruse the medical files,” he added.
Teffo said the PCC’s decision to publicly announce that teachers are submitting fake certificates, while no teacher has been charged or a doctor arrested, is irresponsible, disrespectful and tantamount to defamation of character.
“The statement creates an impression that some 300 teachers with pending applications are suspects, which is an attack on the teaching profession. The intimidation of teachers with comorbidities does not have space in the workplace, particularly the involvement of police in the absence of reported cases to warrant investigation.
“The PCC is abusing its powers by involving the police in a matter between the employer and employees where no criminal charges have been laid. The Department of Education must speedily process these applications, for teachers with comorbidities to ensure employment or replacement teachers, before other grades report back to school on 6 July,” Teffo said.

Story: Nelie Erasmus
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