NATIONAL NEWS - “It can’t be afforded to lose the academic year for schools and post-school institutions.”
This was the message of both Blade Nzimande, minister of Higher Education and Training and Angie Motshekga, minister of Basic Education at a ministerial media briefing earlier this afternoon.
They were answering questions regarding the impact of Covid-19 and the lockdown on academic activities in South Africa. Both stressed that everything possible would be done to make sure that the academic year is not lost.
In his opening remarks, Nzimande urged students to use the period of lockdown to study. He said “it is not a holiday”.
He also indicated that there are university campuses where students are still present. Most of these students are international students. According to him, 60 students at Fort Hare wanted to remain on campus. It was later established that only 20 of these students were registered.
Referring to the position of Gr 12 learners, Motshekga said “there can’t be given up on their academic year”. She said this is also applicable to all other grades. Everything possible will be done to make sure learners can write exams.
On the reopening of schools, she said it would be discussed on 16 April and it will depend on the guidelines her department get from the department of health.
Social developments minister Lindiwe Zula said it is a testing time. She said she gets calls from parents; they say their children can’t move around.
She stressed that social grants will still be paid later this month. At this stage, it is probably the most testing aspect for her department, she added. She said Sassa and Post Office officers have already finalised the arrangements for grants payments.
Referring to people living on the streets, she said some of them are willing to go to shelters, while others are not. She warned that people that don’t want to go to shelters or people who are not prepared to stay there, will be dealt with by the police.
Lindiwe Sisulu, minister for human settlements, water and sanitation, asked people with any complaints about not getting water to phone 0800 200 200. People must regularly wash their hands - for at least 20 seconds - with water and soap.
The Minister in the Office of the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu, said the minister of health will release the latest figures of infected people later today.
He again urged citizens to stay at home. “That is the only way people can protect themselves against the virus. Lockdown is about saving lives.”
WESTERN CAPE HUMAN SETTLEMENTS WELCOME DUNOON AND KOSOVO DE-DENSIFICATION PLANS
28 March 2020
“We welcome the announcement today by National Minister of Human Settlements, Lindiwe Sisulu, that the DuNoon and Kosovo informal settlements will be de-densified and temporary alternative accommodation offered to the affected residents. Furthermore, we welcome her confirmation that water tanks will be provided to address the shortage of water where required.
“This will undoubtedly assist in combatting the spread of COVID-19, as it ensures social distancing, which is our collective challenge during this unprecedented period. We have to ensure we #StopTheSpread
“As the Provincial Department of Human Settlements, we’re looking forward to receiving the specific details of these de-densification plans, as it has to work towards combatting the spread of COVID-19, while also improving the lives of our law abiding and qualifying people. They are our main priority.
“The WC Department of Human Settlemenfs have worked with the DWS, Housing Development Agency and City of Cape Town to collate data and information to inform the de-densification plan.
“Through transparent communication and intergovernmental cooperation, which includes the relevant entities and stakeholders, we can ensure that we work towards the benefit of our residents, particularly since the accommodation is only temporary.
“As the Western Cape Government, we remain committed to accelerating human settlement delivery, while promoting social inclusion through the development of integrated, resilient, safe and sustainable human settlements in an open opportunity society.”
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