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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Fake poster on social media stating closure of public schools

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has condemned the circulation of fake news on different social media platforms, stating that public schools will shut down between 26 May and 28 June.

The fake news poster comes after calls made by unions in the country to shut down schools following the acceleration of Covid-19 infection rates across schools in South Africa.

This also follows the department’s decision to immediately suspend all contact sport at schools last week.

DBE Spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the national department was aware of a manipulated image doing rounds purporting to be an announcement from DBE Minister Angie Motshekga.

Mhlanga said the department wished to dismiss the poster and image as fake news.

“We continue to urge members of the public to be vigilant and verify sources of information they read before sharing it on social media.

“This kind of malicious content is created with the express intent to cause confusion and mislead the public,” said Mhlanga.

Mhlanga added that the department will use credible media platforms to communicate should there be developments in the sector.

The Educators’ Union of South Africa (EUSA) last week called for the immediate shutdown of all South African schools.

EUSA said this is because some provinces are experiencing the beginnings of the third wave coronavirus outbreak. The union said public schools still lacked PPEs and this was the cause of the increased cases of infected learners and teachers.

Scelo Bhengu, EUSA President, said with Gauteng, Free State and the Eastern Cape having declared that they have reached a third wave, it is inevitable the whole country will be in third wave soon.

Bhengu said Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, the North West and the Western Cape have been reported to also be experiencing sustained increases over the last few weeks.

“Schools are central to the contribution of the resurgence as safety protocols are being ignored mostly by principals,” said Bhengu.

South Africa is seeing a resurgence in Covid-19 cases.

Last week the Council of Education Ministers took a decision to suspend all contact sports in schools with immediate effect. DBE spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the cancellation of contact sports comes after provinces such as Gauteng, North West and the Free State saw a rise in Covid-19 cases among learners. 

“It is evident that despite following the protocols as guided by the directions on extramural activities and standard operating procedure on the prevention, containment and management of Covid-19 in schools, contact sports events still contribute to the spread of Covid-19,” said Mhlanga.

Cabinet is set to meet on Wednesday to discuss recommendations from the national coronavirus command centre on how to address the virus threat.

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