On 24 July Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga briefed the media on the readiness of South African schools in order for them to reopen as scheduled on Monday 26 July 2021, after the winter break.
Motshekga says that schools are ready to reopen granted President Cyril Ramaphosa confirms this tomorrow.
"Depending on confirmation by the President tomorrow after Cabinet, as a sector there is agreement across the board, that we are ready for the reopening of schools on Monday, 26 July 2021."-Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga
Ramaphosa brought forward the winter holidays and closed schools due to an increase of Covid-19 cases as South Africa battles through its third wave of the coronavirus. He is set to address the nation on Sunday regarding the lockdown measures that were put in place to help curb the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19.
Teachers, school management teams and support staff have already returned to schools as from Thursday, 22 July 2021 in order to prepare for the return of students on Monday 26 July 2021.
Minister Motshekga says that based on the information received from all the provinces, schools are ready to reopen as well as resume full school attendance at primary schools from 2 August, within the Covid-19 health and safety protocols.
"The Sector continues to be committed, and at all times we are ready to maintain a balance between saving lives and livelihoods, while fighting the coronavirus pandemic," says Motshekga.
She addressed the schools which were vandalized in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng during violent protests and says that these schools are making arrangements to ensure that they open on 26 July with the rest of the schools around the country. In KwaZulu-Natal at least 137 schools suffered damage according to a list submitted by the province's education department.
"This is unprecedented, and we are concerned as a Sector, that much needed school infrastructure was damaged. This is a serious setback, as the sector is already under pressure to provide appropriate facilities for the schooling system."-Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga.
She says that preliminary estimates that she received yesterday shows that the amount for structural damages comes to R300 million.
"[What is] Saddening is that most schools were left with serious structural damages, which would place the safety of learners and teachers at risk," says Motshekga.
She says that schools, community leaders and unions will be working together to urge people to safeguard schools and prevent damage that may negatively affect learner's education.
"The Sector is embarking on an integrated campaign to involve school governing bodies, law enforcement agencies, teacher unions, parents, and civil society to ensure that we take a strong position to love and protect our schools."-Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga.