South Africa: We All Need to Get Behind Angie Motshekga to Ensure Schools Can Reopen Safely and Efficiently

opinion

There was always certainty that schools would reopen. It was just as important to save the school year as it was to ensure that the reopening of schools would not spread Covid-19 further. Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga gave a strong performance as she addressed the issue.

What a powerful performance by Angie Motshekga. I have not recently, if ever, seen the Minister of Basic Education speak so definitively, so clearly and with such conviction. After 20 minutes it was over. But not before she had condemned the vandalism at 1,577 schools.

Vandalism of the schools is the reason only a limited quantity of sanitiser was delivered to schools during the past week. It was intended for the principals and their management teams. Given the large-scale vandalism, it would be irresponsible to deliver large amounts to schools, Motshekga explained.

The minister made it clear that she and her department have consulted widely. All unions, school governing body representatives and the Cabinet were consulted before the National Command Council approved the decision to reopen schools. There is thus no legitimacy crisis. But experience tells me that the last word has not yet been written about this.

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