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Sunday, July 12, 2020
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Cows Take Over Classrooms Ahead Of School’s Opening

SANDILE MOTHA

FRUSTRATED school principals in northern KwaZulu Natal have revealed that they have not received any stock from the department and that instead cattle have turned classrooms into their safe refuge. In some of the images in possession of Inside Education, cow dung can been seen in some classes as livestock roam the school yard all day long.

The images also depict broken desks and dilapidated ablution facilities.

“As I speak to you classes have not been cleaned or disinfected, we have not received anything. I communicate regularly with the district responsible, the only response I get is that they are organising transport to deliver the supplies,” said one disgruntled principal.

His anguish was corroborated by another principal who told Inside Educationthat his school has no water supply or proper toilets.

“Our case is worse because we do not have reliable water supply. We have a single water tank to cater for about 600 learners and the truck which supplies us with water only comes once a week. Health and sanitation is our concern because the only toilet we have is shared by teachers. Other mobile toilets for learner’s use have filled up and has not been emptied since last year,” he lamented.

SADTU provincial secretary NomaRussia Caluza said less than 20 schools in KwaZulu-Natal stands ready to reopen for the 2020 academic intervention programme and the majority of them are schools previously classified as Model C.

“We did our own research and consulted our leaders in different districts and we arrived at a conclusion that schools are not ready to accept teachers and leaners. Water tanks have not been delivered to schools where they don’t have any water supply. Besides this, protective equipment is not sufficient and disinfectants and other crucial supplies have not been delivered, said Caluza.

Caluza said the process can take up to a month to complete as there must be an audit and verification process to match the items delivered versus the ratio of teachers and leaners at a school. 

On Sunday, KwaZulu -Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala announced a U-turn on the provinces’ initial plan to reopen schools for all academic staff which was scheduled for Monday this week.

This sudden change of heart, Zikalala said, was as a result of a delay in the delivery of the supplies such as sanitizers and protective clothing from the districts to schools.

He said the provincial cabinet had instead resolved that academic staff will go back to schools on Thursday this week.

Last week, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced the reopening of schools from June 1 as the country enters level 3 lockdown ease off.

Motshega’s call came after the National Corona Virus Command Council and cabinet gave green light for the systematic reopening of schools.

Motshekga insisted that safety and health protocols will be prioritised. Matric pupils and those in Grade 7 were given priority as the first cohort of pupils to receive attention. 

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