Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga is expected to convene a special meeting of the council of education ministers (CEM) on Monday, 18 May, to consider the progress made towards the reopening of schools.
The national department of education said in a statement on Thursday that the meeting will be followed by Motshekga briefing the media to report to the public on the state on the state of readiness to reopen schools.
The department said that what would be discussed at the meeting will include the work done this week by different provinces, “including taking deliveries of the Covid-19 essentials required as preconditions for the reopening of schools”.
The department said that at a meeting this past Monday, provinces had reported being at various stages of readiness and had requested for more time while waiting for suppliers to deliver personal protection equipment (PPE).
“We agreed in our meeting on Monday that one week is needed to finalise outstanding [matters]. So on Monday, 18 May, we will reconvene to consider the progress made and then report to the public on the state of readiness,” Motshekga said.
The minister said “a lot of work” has been done thus far and that the department is “happy with the progress reported in the last meeting but we need confirmation of deliveries that provinces were waiting for”.
She said the deliveries had been delayed by “challenges with the supplier of the PPEs”, resulting in the cancellation of the contract.
“Various provinces had to find new suppliers to deliver the material this week,” said Motshekga.
The minister said President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on Wednesday that government “will immediately” consult with “relevant stakeholders” on the proposal to move most of the country to level 3 of the lockdown, with areas with a high rate of infection remaining at level 4, will be discussed at the meeting next Monday.
The director-general of the department of basic education Mathanzima Mweli said: “The minister will address a media briefing after receiving full reports from all provinces on the readiness to open schools.”
The department said the exact time of Motshekga’s media briefing would be confirmed in due course.
(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)