KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala does the new "elbow shake" with the principal of Nhlanhlayetu Secondary in Inanda after monitoring their state of readiness to operate safely amid the coronavirus pandemic. Image: Jehran Daniel / African News Agency (ANA)
KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala does the new "elbow shake" with the principal of Nhlanhlayetu Secondary in Inanda after monitoring their state of readiness to operate safely amid the coronavirus pandemic. Image: Jehran Daniel / African News Agency (ANA)

KZN premier applauds teachers for their 'patriotism'

By Jehran Daniel Time of article published Jun 9, 2020

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DURBAN - The premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Sihle Zikalala, visited schools around the northern parts of Durban, South Africa, on Tuesday to confirm that they were adequately equipped to operate safely amid the coronavirus crisis.

During his visit, the premier applauded teachers for their dedication and patriotism shown during the pandemic as well as for enforcing the Covid-19 regulations at schools. 

“We want to thank the educators and the manner in which they’ve shown dedication. They’ve shown a great level of patriotism in all areas and schools that we have visited. They are in the forefront of ensuring that all regulations and protocols are followed as expected,” said Zikalala. 

According to Zikalala, this stance shown by teachers and their level of preparedness should help diminish some of the fears that the country and parents have had about the novel coronavirus. 

“I think this should also allay the fears that we had as a country and parents in particular. Because if our educators are so responsible about protection of our learners, I think that also assists us,” said Zikalala at Ohlange Secondary in Durban.

“The trauma is there, anxiety will be there to all learners. But what will help us address that is the enthusiasm and the dedication of educators. And that is one thing that is going to help us going forward.

“We must also confirm that such trauma is affecting all of us even outside schools. Even in various factories and industries, it will be there. But the level of preparedness assures us that we are going to overcome the situation,” said Zikalala. 

Schools had been closed for the holidays in South Africa from March 17 and remained shut after the government declared a coronavirus lockdown on March 26. Most schools reopened on June 8, one week after the country eased into a more lenient level 3 of the lockdown.

On Monday, 104 schools in KwaZulu-Natal province remained closed due to a lack of water and sanitation facilities, essential to stop the transmission of the coronavirus.

However, the premier confirmed on Tuesday that that number had dropped to 46. 

“We are mindful of the fact that there are districts that have schools that have not opened. Those 46 schools are affected especially by lack of water provision and ablution facilities,” explained Zikalala. 

The premier noted that various state departments were working vigorously towards a solution. 

“The Department of Water and Sanitation working together with the South African National Defence Force are hard at work ensuring that even in those schools we provide water and we provide toilets and all other requirements,” he said. 

While the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) has been the topic of much debate, Zikala also confirmed that this has been made available to all schools. 

“All of the essentials, such as the personal protective equipment, have been availed to all schools, including those that have not opened as yet,” explained the premier. 

African News Agency

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