Limpopo teachers using ‘fake’ sick notes to stay out of school

Limpopo teachers are submitting fake doctors’ certificates to avoid returning to teaching.

This is the allegation leveled by the Limpopo Provincial Coronavirus Command Council. It said on Sunday that the teachers under scrutiny are citing vulnerability to Covid-19 because of comorbidities.

It reported that education authorities had received more than 700 applications from teachers to be exempt from returning to school due to comorbidities, but only 400 of these had been granted. 

Suspicion arose when education authorities received medical certificates “from a certain section of doctors”.

Premier Stan Mathabatha’s spokesperson Kenny Mathiva said that the health department is investigating the matter with the assistance of the police. “It is believed that some doctors and medical certificates are fake.”

“There is a government protocol that states that people who are 60 years or older and with comorbidities, should not report for duty. The form requires disclosure of the disease,” said Mathiva.

“Some teachers submit certificates that do not conform to protocol. This has become prevalent among teachers,” he said.

In a further twist, DA provincial leader Jacques Smalle, who also sits on the committee, expressed doubt that the province was ready for the reopening of schools for the remaining grades. 

“I’m concerned all the schools will not be ready. We must just expect a mixture of good and bad next week,” Smalle said.

All teachers and pupils are expected to return to school on Monday. Currently, positive cases stand at fourteen in schools in the province. So far only three schools have closed due to cases of infection. 

Education MEC Polly Boshielo is expected to provide more information this week.