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Reopening of schools: Gauteng 'almost there but not 100%' - Lesufi

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says he is positive schools will be ready to reopen on Monday, but some have experienced setbacks. During an inspection tour of St Stithians College and Randburg Clinic School, Lesufi said some schools had been set back by theft and a lack of resources, like PPEs. Lesufi said he would be in meetings with school stakeholders to hear feedback on the readiness of schools to reopen, after which he would be able to make a better assessment.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says schools in the province are almost ready to reopen on 1 June, but there are a few things that still need to be done.

Speaking during an inspection visit of St Stithians College and Randburg Clinic School to assess preparations ahead of Monday's reopening, Lesufi said there are some schools not ready to open - for various reasons.

He said some schools have been set back by vandalism, theft and a lack of resources, which has led to delays in the reopening of these specific schools.

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Lesufi also said a learner had tested positive in Bronkhorstspruit, during the time when schools were closed, and this caused a delay in the reopening of the school in that particular community.

Once the parents of the learner notified the department, it decided to engage with the community before children were allowed to return to school.

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Lesufi said his observations at St Stithians and Randburg Clinic School led him to be positive that schools would be ready, but he understood that schools had to prepare in a short space of time.

"I am positive, but the timelines were too tight to open schools within a week - [to] get [personal protective equipment] PPEs, teachers and so on.

"From where I am, I believe we are almost there, but we are not 100% there," Lesufi said.

"There will be areas that will [return] later on, [after] 1 June, depending on the circumstances, but generally where there are no problems, we expect everyone to come back," he said.

A meeting between principals of all schools, school governing bodies, teachers' unions and Lesufi will take place on Friday, so that the MEC can hand over a final report.

On Thursday, Lesufi will meet with political parties in the legislature, who had conducted their own oversight visits, and they will report back.

"From all these meetings, we will have a better understanding of whether we are ready for Monday, but I remain hopeful. We need to be cautious - it's safety first, and we need to protect our children and our staff members," Lesufi said.