Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says her department does not have any plans at the moment to close schools. The Minister says those that are planning to shut down schools forcefully will be dealt with by law enforcement.
On the site visit to various schools in Limpopo, Motshekga says parents are the only ones who can decide on whether their children report to school or not.
Growing calls for schools to close as COVID-19 infections rise:
The Minister says primary schools will welcome learners at full capacity when schools re-open for the third term.
“That is what they exist for, to oppose anything that government does. It is never here nor there. To me, what matters is the teachers, it is the parents; not them. You can’t rely on them, otherwise, you won’t do anything; it is their work. That is why they are called opposition parties.
If parents feel they want to hold their kids, no problem; but if parents want their children to come to school, the law enforcement agency has to come to keep people from being disrupted to access their rights. It is out of my control. Mine is that on the 26th if everything is fine, kids are going back to school.”
EFF threatens forceful shutdown of schools
On Thursday, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema said he believes that all schools in the country have seven days to close to save lives or face a forceful shutdown.
He said the country is now in the third wave of COVID-19 infections and should be concerned about the lives of learners. Infections have been increasing with the country recording more than nine thousand coronavirus cases in the last reporting period.
Malema said if schools don’t close, children will die.
“So, schools must close and they must close with immediate effect because our children are going to die. We give the Minister seven days to close the schools. Failure to do so, we’ll have to close schools ourselves as the EFF because we are not going to allow our children to die; we are not going to allow that. It was so painful to lose elderly people, the first wave and the second wave were the most painful thing. Imagine now when we have to go and bury kids?”
EFF gives Basic Education seven days to close contact learning:
Gauteng awaits advice
The Gauteng Education Department says although they are experiencing a massive increase in the number of learners testing positive for COVID-19, they will await the provincial health department to advise on when they should close schools.
Over 1 000 learners are said to have tested positive at public schools in the province in the past week. The province is already experiencing a third wave with an average rate of around 3 500 new infections recorded each day.
Gauteng Education spokesperson Steve Mabona says, “We can confirm that a growing number of children in our schools are testing positive for covid 19. We are monitoring the situation very closely, where it is recommended by the department of health for us to close schools. For now, they are closed for 3 days. We are concerned about the numbers and saying everyone has a role to play to stop the spread.”