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Cape Town – KWAZULU-NATAL Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu is concerned that some schools in the province are being affected by the social distance compliance as the primary schools were returning to full capacity.
“We are to make a submission to the national office. It is clear that there are schools that are not coping,” Mshengu said.
“We are unable to provide mobile classrooms precisely because there is not enough funds. I am sure we will get a guide on how we navigate these issues,” he said.
Mshengu was appearing before the parliamentary committee to give an update on the impact of damages to schools caused by the unrest and on the readiness of schools reopening.
Speaking briefly before rushing to a meeting of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said there was an issue of social distance they have to sort out at the council.
Motshekga confirmed that primary school pupils have returned to schools.
“We experience some problems with social distance. The cabinet allowed the one metre but in some instances the metre is not good enough,” said the minister who was visiting a school in Katlehong, Gauteng.
She told the meeting that she needed to go back to the NCCC.
“We have a good advisory from the ministerial advisory committee (MAC), which said we can still safely reduce the distance.
“That is what I need to present at NCCC,” Motshekga said.
Director-General in the department Mathanzima Mweli confirmed the advice from the MAC, saying the committee was the one that said all primary school pupils should return to school.
Mweli said Motshekga would suggest that if the one-metre social distance compliance could not be met, then pupils should wear masks regularly, wash and sanitise their hands.
Mweli told MPs that they were looking at issues of overcrowding of classrooms and non-pharmaceutical interventions.
“We agreed with the provinces that overcrowding is a No- No,” he said.
Deputy Minister Reginah Mhaule said schools with serious challenges of overcrowding should sort out their challenge and then allow pupils at school.
During the meeting, MPs were briefed on the state of readiness to receive all pupils on a daily basis in primary and special schools.