Alex Japho Matlala
There has been a rocky start to schools opening this week in Limpopo after pupils from several communities could
not access their schools on Monday and on Tuesday due to flooding, collapsed classrooms and shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE).
MEC for basic education in Limpopo, Polley Boshielo spent the better part of past two days visiting schools in the Capricorn, Vhembe and Mopani regions.
For the past three weeks, Limpopo has been hard-hit by floods due to the tropical storm Eloise, which swept parts of the country.
Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Free State, Northern Cape and Gauteng have been hard-hit, according to the South African Weather Service.
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Several rivers and dams had recorded more than 100% capacity.
“We have roped in the departments of public works, cooperative governance, human settlement and traditional affairs and the premier’s office to bring the situation back to normal,” said Boshielo.
Three other schools in the area have experienced a similar situation and teaching could not start this week.
On Tuesday, MEC for human settlements Basikopo Makamu was in the Mopani region where pupils and teachers could not access their schools due to flooded rivers.
Hardest-hit areas are Thulamela, Makhado, Musina, Phalabowa, Tzaneen and Giyani sub-regions and parts of Waterberg and Capricorn regions.
Makamu said his department had a budget of R18.7 million to address disaster management issues this financial year.
“We want R280 million more to make sure the situation is back to normal. The money will help to give relief to people who have been displaced during floods, help feed them and give them a roof over their heads,” said Makamu.
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The Democratic Alliance (DA), which also visited schools in Limpopo to gauge their readiness, said the province was not ready.
“Our oversight inspection visits yesterday at Molautsi secondary, OR Mabotja secondary and Mmaditshika primary schools revealed that challenges such as shortage of personal protective equipment, storm-damaged classrooms, shortage of sanitation and water continued to characterise the first day of the school in Limpopo this year,” said DA
provincial leader Jacques Smalle.
The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) also said schools in Limpopo were not ready to reopen.
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