China donates R1 million to South African schools
Pretoria – Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Friday received a donation of R1 million worth of water tanks as well as 50 000 surgical masks and 400 thermometers from the Chinese embassy in Pretoria, to boost hygiene in several South African schools amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Charge d’affaires of the Chinese embassy, Li Nan, told local and international media at the official ceremony that part of the surgical masks donation was from former Chinese ambassador to South Africa, Lin Songtian.
Songtian has been reassigned to Beijing as president of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC).
“President Xi Jinping (Chinese president) highly appreciates the anti-pandemic measures and achievements of the South African government under the strong leadership of president (Cyril) Ramaphosa, while president Ramaphosa regards China as the true friend and reliable partner of South Africa and the African continent in the face of difficulties and challenges,” said Li.
“Dear brothers and sisters, we still remember that, when China was at its most difficult time at the beginning of the year, president Ramaphosa, the South African government, the African National Congress, as well as private companies extended their valuable support to us in various forms and on many occasions. We appreciate it very much and will never forget this.”
He said now that China had the pandemic under “effective control”, Beijing authorities were returning the goodwill of the South African people.
“It is our turn to reciprocate the brotherhood and goodwill of South African brothers and sisters. Up to now, the Chinese government, the Chinese Communist Party, Chinese enterprises, Chinese non-profit organisations such as Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation, and local Chinese communities in South Africa have donated millions of rand and tens of thousands of personal protective equipment (PPE) like face masks, protective clothes, and testing kits to South Africa. And we will continue to do so,” said Li.
The department of basic education said that the donation would benefit almost 3,000 learners at seven schools within the Pixley ka Semme District Municipality in the drought-prone Northern Cape with uninterrupted water supply.
Receiving the donation, accompanied by senior education officials from the Northern Cape provincial education department, Motshekga conveyed “heartfelt appreciation” for the Chinese institutions’ considerable support for the reopening of schools in South Africa amidst declining Covid-19 statistics.
“Like other countries across the world, we have faced significant challenges when we started reopening schools. Yet, throughout all these difficult times we continued to remain steadfast in our quest to ensure that the right of every child to basic education is provided, while also ensuring that all precautions are taken to save lives in all school communities,” she said.
“One of the significant challenges we continue to deal with is ensuring that every child has sufficient and fully functional hand-washing facilities. That is why we are very grateful for the tanks. We are also fighting a big battle around sanitation to make sure that learners have safe facilities in terms of both washing their hands, but also safe sanitation, which is one of our biggest challenges.”