Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency/ANA
Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency/ANA

Lesufi visits Helpmekaar College over claims it defied DBE orders to shut down amid rising Covid-19 cases

By Botho Molosankwe Time of article published Jan 18, 2021

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Johannesburg – Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi says he wants Helpmekaar College to explain why it wants pupils back at school, despite a directive schools be shut down due to the severity of Covid-19 infections and deaths.

The Department of Basic Education announced last week public schools would not reopen on January 27, as had been planned, due to the second wave of Covid-19 hitting South Africa.

There have been over a million people infected and more than 35 000 deaths, with the Department of Basic Education announcing it would be delaying the reopening of schools by two weeks.

The reopening of public schools was delayed by two weeks in order to monitor the severity of the coronavirus and private schools, which had already started their 2021 academic year, were requested to shut down too.

However, there are allegations Helpemekaar, a private Afrikaans school in Braamfontein, sent a newsletter to parents informing them pupils must report to school on Monday.

Lesufi was expected to visit the school to obtain clarity.

“The purpose of MEC Lesufi’s visit is to establish reasons for the college’s action as this would be in contravention of the pronouncement by to postpone the opening of schools from 27 January to 15 February 2021 due to concerns over the increasing Covid-19 infections in the province,” the department said.

According to Department of Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga, more than 200 teachers had died since school closure, on December 15.

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