Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says she has received reports that confirm the readiness for classes to resume for over 1 million Grade 7s and Grade 12s across the country on Monday. She was addressing a media conference from Pretoria.

Motshekga says 97.6% of public schools are ready to receive learners from Monday.  That means out of 23 675 schools, 23 100 schools have been declared ready to receive learners.

The Minister had to postpone the scheduled resumption of classes last Monday to this Monday amid delays in sanitation procedures and the delivery of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs).

She says the delays were caused by various reasons for different provinces.

“Different provinces are at different stages depending on a number of factors that are there. Some of them, equipment was being blocked on their way to schools by people who would have wanted an opportunity to provide services to the department and that interfered greatly with the readiness of other provinces.”

The Western Cape was the only province to resume schooling under Level 3 lockdown regulations on 1 June.

Motshekga says a total of 1 672 schools were vandalised, including a few schools in the past week, which contributed to the delay in the reopening of schools.

“Some of the problems that delayed us were issues of vandalism…Even during the course of this week; we had quite a number of schools that were broken into. We got reports that people just come and kick toilet seats, remove taps just to really disorganise us. Up to now, we have more than 1 672 which have been vandalised. There was also interference with the delivery of goods. The induction and orientation of teachers has not been completed; one of the biggest challenges that we had was around sanitation.”

In the video below, North West reports that more than 50 schools have been vandalised in the province: 

Unions give reopening of schools green light

Motshekga says teacher unions and other stakeholders have given the department the green light to go ahead with the reopening of schools. The department postponed the reopening following concerns raised by teacher unions and school governing bodies.

Motshekga says the department has improved its mop-up preparations.

“So we did receive a joint report from unions, we received reports from provincial heads of education, we received a report from Rand Water to say how far we were. But also we received reports from the national consortium led by the NEC. All these report indeed confirm the point that we have moved a long way in being ready for teaching from the 8th of June.”

In the video below, Minister Motshekga briefs the media on the state of readiness of the reopening of schools:

Learners react

There was excitement at Bainsvlei Combined School in Bloemfontein when Grade 7 and Grade 12 learners arrived at their boarding house ahead of school reopening on Monday.

Zanele Qhina and Thabiso Khetsekile say they are happy to be back at school after the academic year was disrupted by the lockdown.

“I feel very excited to be at school because I was becoming worried for our academic year,” Qhina said.

“We are quite happy because at home we are galavanting. So its better to be at with teachers,” Khetsekile said.