South Africans await an update on lockdown regulations from President Cyril Ramaphosa

South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation today. Photo by Aljazeera.

As the nation awaits word from President Cyril Ramaphosa concerning the prospect of lighter lockdown regulations, the Department of Basic Education rushes to redraw an amended 2020 school calendar following delays in health and safety protocols.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga is locked in vital consultations with various stakeholders in the education sector. These urgent discussions come at a time when Motshekga’s original proposal, which would see School Management Teams return to institutions on 11 May, has fallen by the wayside following criticism from unions.

Following calls from the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) for a nationwide stay away, provincial departments told principals and their teams not to return to schools. Sadtu has bemoaned the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) afforded to educators while regional departments say the sanitation of local institutions has not yet reached standards held by the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC).

It seems likely that the department’s proposal to have Grade 7 and 12 learners return to class on 1 June will be revised as a result of the ongoing delays.

South Africans are calling for clarity from President Ramaphosa and the National Command Council after feeling ‘left in the lurch’ since government’s last official notice regarding the risk-adjusted lockdown strategy.

As the country’s socioeconomic problems continue to mount under the strain of lockdown, the calls from civil societies, political parties and, according to government sources, elements within ruling African National Congress (ANC) itself, to lighten lockdown has grown louder.

A glimmer of hope was recently offered by Police Minister Bheki Cele who insinuated that government was actively discussing the move to Level 3 and the contingency plans associated with such a move.

As of yet, President Ramaphosa has not offered a timeline regarding a shift to Level 3 lockdown.

By The South African

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