On Schools Closing:
The IFP believes that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation this evening was indeed a missed opportunity – as the President failed to act decisively and take a bold decision to immediately suspend all teaching and learning in schools across the country.
Simply put, the announcement by the President was that schools are closed but open!
We have, on numerous occasions, raised our concerns that the ‘cautious and phased’ reopening of schools has not been met well by various stakeholders in the Education sector. Their calls have all fallen on deaf ears.
It appears that government, through this decision, has ignored the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) guidance that schools should remain closed until community transmissions have been contained.
Furthermore, there was very glaring inequality and differential treatment of public and private schools in his announcement, which specifically noted only public schools will be granted a four-week break.
The deep-rooted inequalities that exist within our education system leave hundreds of thousands of students behind.
We cannot expect our young people to compete equally in academics when the daily lived realities of the rich and poor are starkly different; and for the poor it mirrors the unfortunate breakdown in government’s efforts to effect real, meaningful and impactful socio-economic justice.
However, this announcement this evening clearly indicated that government’s response is less about health considerations and the safety of our learners and teachers – and more about ‘political posturing’ on the part of the Executive.
As schools – for all intents and purposes – remain operational, the President and the Minister of Basic Education have failed to act decisively in protecting learners, teachers and the country at large from the spread of further transmissions of Covid-19.
The IFP, at the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, warned government, and urged that strong and preventative action must be taken against corruption; when the State of National Disaster was declared; and in particular, when emergency budget packages were in the preparation phase.
It is high time that the President walks his talk in tackling widespread corruption.
All South Africans want to see justice served swiftly and to place anyone and everyone who commits acts of corruption, graft or any form of financial irregularity at the expense of the state and taxpayers, behind bars.
We echo the sentiments expressed by the President that we have indeed reached the eye of the storm as our numbers of active Covid-19 cases have skyrocketed.
The IFP urges all South Africans to adhere to the regulations of Alert Level 3 Lockdown, and we reiterate our call to South Africans to stay safe, stay at home as far as possible, and to maintain social and physical distancing.
Mkhuleko Hlengwa MP
IFP National Spokesperson
071 111 0539