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KwaZulu-Natal teacher unions worried about the readiness of looted and storm-damaged schools

Siphosethu Primary School was one of the schools targeted in the civil unrest. Picture: Supplied

Siphosethu Primary School was one of the schools targeted in the civil unrest. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 10, 2022

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DURBAN - KWAZULU-NATAL teachers’ unions are concerned about the readiness of the schools that were looted last year and damaged by the recent storms, as schools are expected to reopen next Monday.

Teachers will report for duty on January 17 for the 2022 academic year.

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National Teachers Union (Natu) general secretary Cynthia Barnes was doubtful that everything was ready, but said she hoped everything would go accordingly.

“We are mostly concerned about schools that were vandalised, broken into and ransacked during the looting. We are left with only a week to find out what has been done before the teachers go back to school.

“We haven’t heard of anything that would delay the opening of the schools. We are happy that everything seems to be going well.

“We are hoping and praying for everything to go properly for the children to have a full school year. However, we will know more if the schools are ready, once they have opened,” said Barnes.

National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) KZN chief executive Thirona Moodley said no deliveries of necessities to the schools made it difficult to know whether they were ready.

“At this point, no personal protective equipment (PPE) or sanitisers have been delivered to schools. Infrastructure, furniture and some walls in some schools were still down during the holidays due to the storms, especially in Pietermaritzburg.

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“We would need to touch base and visit the schools in order for us to know more of their readiness,” said Moodley.

Vee Gani, chairperson of the KZN Parents’ Association, said he believed teachers and learners were ready and the rest lies with the Department of Education.

“It has been a difficult two years of delivering quality education since the arrival of Covid-19, but I think our public schools now know better how to manage everything.

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“We are hoping for a better 2022. It is going to be challenging but we will be able to handle it all. Teachers, parents, governing bodies and learners are ready. It now all lies with the department to ensure the safety quality of everything in schools.

“We hope they do not disappoint. We are hoping this year the learners get a full year of studying,” said Gani.

Provincial education spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said a media briefing would be held soon to present the department’s state of readiness.

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He said when it came to the schools that needed infrastructure, the department was working on it.

“I can say that all is ready. We are working around the clock for schools that are in need of repairing or alternative facilities.

“We will facilitate and ensure that everything goes smoothly in time to open the schools,” said Mahlambi.

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