South Africa: Minister Motshekga Could Have Avoided Confusion, Instead She Showed Disrespect

analysis

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has apologised for the last-minute announcement that schools would not reopen on Monday 1 June. She failed to justify her general disrespect.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga was correct to err on the side of caution and postpone Monday's reopening of schools. Thousands of schools simply would not have been able to implement measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) hadn't arrived and many schools had inadequate or no water supplies or soap for students and staff to wash their hands. Facilities had not been sanitised.

In the days leading up to the planned reopening on 1 June, Motshekga said only schools that had implemented the required health and safety precautions would reopen, but many would have probably fallen through the cracks, reopened and risked the health of learners, staff and their communities.

The Department of Basic Education's announcement that the return would be delayed, however, was made on Sunday, only hours before more than a million learners were meant to report for class, after yet another postponed press briefing. It offered little clarity for concerned parents.

Motshekga appeared to show remorse on Monday during a press briefing...

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