Education department needs more time, postpones ‘final’ briefing

The briefing, which was due to take place on Thursday morning, has been pushed back by several hours.

Education department needs more time, postpones ‘final’ briefing

The Department of Education, which was due to present its final solution to the tense schooling debate on Thursday morning, has postponed its briefing.

The latest postponement comes just three days after the department, headed by Minister Angie Motshekga, snubbed a briefing on Monday afternoon, citing the need for ‘further consultation’ with the National Command Council (NCC).

A parliamentary briefing on Thursday morning, involving the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, issued a presentation of tentative proposals concerning the 2020 calendar and a ‘phased’ approach to the reopening of schools.

When will pupils go back to school?

This presentation, delivered by the Director-General of Basic Education, Hubert Mathanzima Mweli, was met with fierce condemnation. Although stressing the point that any proposals would need to be finalised by Motshekga, Mweli’s decision to release draft documents to the public has raised some serious red flags.

In his presentation, Mweli noted the following Grade 7 and 12 calendar proposal for consideration:

  • Term 2 start for pupils: 6 May
  • Term 2 end for pupils: 26 July
  • Term 3 start for pupils: 3 August
  • Term 3 end for pupils: 23 September
  • Term 4 start for pupils: 28 September
  • Term 4 end for pupils: 9 December

Mweli’s presentation also detailed a ‘phased-in’ approach, which would see pupils in different grades returning to school at different times, as follows:

  • 6 May: Grades 12 and 7
  • 20 May: Grades 11 and 6
  • 3 June: Grades 10 and 5
  • 17 June: Grades 9 and 4
  • 1 July: Grades 8 and 3
  • 8 July: Grades 2 and 1
  • 15 July: Grade R

Early reopening of schools ‘a disaster’

Pupils, parents, teachers and unions lashed out at Mweli’s proposals, arguing that a premature return to school, as South Africa readies to reach its peak infection rate in September, would be courting disaster. Many parents took to social media to voice their frustrations, adding that they would not send their children to school until the peak infection rate had subsided.

Both the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Western Cape lambasted the department’s proposal.

Education department tires damage control

Following the fallout, Deputy Minister for the Department of Basic Education, Reginah Mhaule, was quick to respond to the widespread panic, arguing that the dates proposed in Mweli’s presentation were ‘far from finalised’.

Mhaule added that the proposed return date of 6 May was likely to be amended and finalised ahead of the departmental briefing.

‘Last leg in the process’

Motshekga, however, revealed that Mweli’s presentation was one of the ‘final’ draft proposals formed from a “series of consultative sessions with various stakeholders”. A statement issued by the department on Wednesday night read:

“The engagement with the portfolio committee was the last leg in the process.”

Motshekga, who was originally scheduled to deliver final details pertaining to the school programme at 10:00 on Thursday morning, will now only address the nation at 16:30. A statement issued by the department on Thursday morning announced:

“The media briefing scheduled for 10am will not take place as planned due to a Cabinet happening this morning. The time will be confirmed during the course of the day. We apologize for the inconvenience. Regards.”

Source : The South African More   

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Travel under level 4 lockdown restrictions – What you need to know

Here are the travel restrictions during level 4 lockdown. International travel (and recreational travel within South Africa's borders) will not be allowed.

Travel under level 4 lockdown restrictions – What you need to know

Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma spoke at a media briefing on Thursday, 29 April 2020 regarding lockdown level 4 restrictions in South Africa, and shared conditions pertaining to travel.

Minister Dlamini-Zuma explains that certain forms of travel within South Africa’s borders are allowed. However, there will be restrictions. International travel is still a no-go.

Lockdown level 4: International travel restrictions

According to the minister, sea borders, ports, airports, land ports of entry will remain closed. She added that borders are only open importing and exporting essential goods, especially to and from neighbouring countries.

Expatriating South African travellers stuck elsewhere

Travel will only be in exceptional circumstances; such as South Africans stuck elsewhere in the world and who want to return home.

The minister reiterated that returning South Africans must adhere to strict conditions. Returning travellers will be subject to a 14-day quarantine before returning to their families.

The minister said these strict conditions are important since many travellers will be returning from high-risk countries where infections are much higher than it is South Africa.

It is therefore vital to ensure that those returning to families and communities are not COVID-19 positive; to prevent the spread of the disease in communities where infections might not be prevalent at this stage.

Assisting foreign nationals to return to their countries

DIRCO is facilitating a program to assist or foreign nationals who are currently in South Africa and who want to return to their home countries.

According to Minister Dlamini-Zuma, tourists who were under quarantine in South Africa will receive assistance to ensure they reach ports of exit in time for their flights.

Lockdown level 4: Travel within SA’s borders

Those who have a permit to work will be allowed to travel to and from work and students will be allowed to travel with a permit once schools and universities have been opened.

Travelling across provinces is still a no-no except under the same conditions as level 5 lockdown. However, people who left their home provinces before the lockdown will have a “once-off” allowance to return to the province they work.

This once-off allowance is only be valid if their industry resumes operations Once they have returned, they will not be allowed to leave the province.

In short, workers cannot commute between provinces for work under level 4 lockdown restrictions.

Transport within South Africa to move goods

Minister Dlamini-Zuma also confirmed that other forms of transport – such as busses and rail – will be opened, under strict hygiene conditions.

This will be to allow for the transportation of cargo manufactured in South Africa for export to neighbouring countries. Those facilities will also be available for goods entering the country.

Co-parenting and family obligations

Children will be allowed to move between parents where those parents are not living in the same home.

In addition, people may travel to funerals if they have a death certificate. Funeral night vigil funerals are not allowed. In addition, no groups may gather during the week of bereavement.

travel restrictions south africa

Image via Twitter: @GovernmentZA

Source : The South African More   

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