Farrah Saville
Lifestyle Managing Editor
4 minute read
23 Jul 2020
10:35 am

I give up, Angie, now you’re going to close schools, again?

Farrah Saville

Angie Motshekga tires parents and teachers out more than the kids do.

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga. Picture: Jacques Naude / African News Agency (ANA)

According to a report on TimesLive, the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) will recommend to cabinet that schools close for three weeks when it meets on Thursday.

This recommendation will then be presented to Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga and then either the president or the minster will announce the decision made by cabinet.

UPDATE: Schools to close for four weeks as Covid-19 infections rise


As a mother of a very small child, I shudder to think about the education department’s future plans if their handling of the coronavirus pandemic is anything to go by.

My child is not even a year old yet and I have already decided that if I can find a system that works for schooling that deals with the department of basic education in the least way possible, then that’s the route I’ll take.

From the start of lockdown in March, this has been a rollercoaster ride of emotions for parents in this country. And, if we thought the cracks showing previously when we look at how the department manages Grade 1 and Grade 7 registrations, botched matric results, and the mismanagement of resources, I don’t see why we expected anything more during the pandemic.

To start with, schools were immediately closed in March ahead of the Easter School holidays and while the school closures generally coincided with the Level 5 lockdown regulations and some parents were able to work from home and home school their children, that situation was not ideal.


There was no other choice as infections began to appear at schools so we left it with the government to do what was needed and as parents sucked it up and we acclimatised to lockdown life. It is almost as if Angie thought to herself ‘THIS is the plan’.

Since level 5, there seemed to be the longest, most uncomfortable silence before we heard from mam’ Angie again with a solid plan. It would only be at the end of April when we heard of her plan after her department promptly postponed not one but two media addresses sending parents into a panic.

When she finally made her recommendations, she called Covid-19 by another name. Of course, it was just a mistake but there was a time that we needed some comforting words, it would have been then. And, that was a sign of things to come.

Her plan was erratic, didn’t make much sense, and seemed out of touch. The back and forth on school regulations, the phasing in of grades, the sanitisation of schools – the plan had holes, Angie : no consideration for technology, no consideration for public and private transport, no consideration of the lack of water and sanitisation, lack of food scheme and the anxiety of parents and children seemed not to factor at all. No comforting words, no empathy.

Mostly, no consideration of the fact that we live in country where parents look after grandparents and children and we all live in one household.

When your plan was put into motion, week after week, more infections, school closures, schools reopening, mismanagement of PPE, mismanagement of hand sanitiser, infections, no social distancing, school closures, infections, school closures. To date almost 800 teachers have been infected.

And, what does your department do? Send a tweet asking for unemployed teachers to apply for jobs as if the teaching body are a herd of cattle that can simply be replaced.

Unemployed Qualified Educators are invited to register on the Department of Basic Education’s National Recruitment Database during the time of COVID-19#BackToSchoolSA pic.twitter.com/U0gykvXIFu

— Dep. Basic Education (@DBE_SA) July 20, 2020

Now, we are in our peak, as infections soar and you are yet to make a decision. Today’s report on schools closing says the minster was too busy to attend the meeting. What could be keeping you busier than this?

Calls from the public to shut schools down, trade unionists screaming at the top of their lungs, teachers fearing for their lives, students and parents fearing the worst with petitions and Facebook groups, sharing of video after video of regulations not being upheld, while our numbers climb and climb…

Where are you Angie and when will you lead from the front?

 For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.

Farrah Saville is the managing editor: lifestyle for The Citizen, Parenty, All4Women and Living and Loving. She is passionate about issues affecting parents and mothers. In her downtime you can find her eating and eating some more while curling up with a good book. She’s focusing on raising a strong, independent child with good values but who’s also a little bit of a rebel.