Angie Motshekga’s appearance on 702 has ruffled a few feathers after she stated that some people were ‘creating drama’ by raising their concerns about the new back to school proposals.
The Basic Education Minister has announced that children will go back to school on Monday 1 June, starting with pupils in Grades 7 and 12. However, South Africa still remains in Level 4 of lockdown, and the number of infections and deaths per day continue to climb. Parents, teachers and general citizens are wary of sending children into a public space and risking their exposure to COVID-19 even further.
Angie Motshekga ‘wants no drama’ with back to school plans
During her interview on Thursday, Angie Motshekga spent the best part of 30 minutes addressing concerns and questions raised by the public. When pressed for a statement on how schools would screen their students for any potential COVID-19 symptoms, the Cabinet member went on the offensive:
“It is managed by people that are trained, they screen, they check the temperature … we have linked every school to a clinic, if you find a child with a high temperature, we will handle it the way it is handled everywhere else. We have community health workers who will be screening at the gate.”
“There are three principles guiding us – making sure that schools don’t become centres where the virus can be spread, making sure children don’t get infected in schools but also enabling them to continue with what is rightfully theirs, the right to education and the right to be taken care of.”
“There is no need to dramatic on this… We should not be creating drama saying schools are more at risk of infection than anywhere else.”
Minister’s comments ‘shock’ radio host
Her comments about creating drama were challenged by host Eusebius McKaiser, who called the response as ‘shocking’. Minister Motshekga responded by saying the situation will be well-managed and has been thoroughly prepared for. But, especially at a time like this, pronouncements on the safety of our children can’t be made in such a dismissive manner.
I can't believe the minister thinks people are "dramatic" for asking granular questions about safety protocols at our schools. That is shocking. Concerns, from all walks of life, are legitimate and must be responded to. Podcast in the next tweet.
— Eusebius McKaiser (@Eusebius) May 21, 2020