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Bhisho wants two more weeks to prepare EC schools for second phase of reopening

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The Eastern Cape government said it was engaging national government on a two-week extension to the timeframes to reopen schools for additional grades.

This, as 200 schools in the province remain closed due to Covid19 while 91 have reopened.

Premier Lubabalo Mabuyane was briefing the public on Tuesday on the province’s ongoing interventions to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

He said the Department of Basic Education sent out questionnaires to be filled by schools for the second phase of re-opening of schools and 3085 out of 5135 schools

indicated that they were not ready for the re-opening of grades planned to return on 6 July.

 “The Provincial Coronavirus Command Council has resolved to engage national

government to grant the province extension of two weeks to prepare all schools to be adequately ready to re-open schools in a manner that meets Covid19 protocols,” he said.

The Premier said R165m has been transferred to schools for School Nutrition Programme.

Meanwhile, Mabuyane said the medico-legal payments to lawyers of R2.5bn was hampering the Provincial Department of Health’s ability to effectively deal with the pandemic.

“This situation led to some payments to service providers being delayed as these funds were diverted to pay medico-legal claims,” Mabuyane said.

He said the Bhisho Government was implementing section 18 of the PFMA through the Provincial Treasury where “we are focusing on capacitating the Department of Health to rise to the occasion.” 

“All of us must work together to protect our Health System from collapsing. This we must do so that the health system is capable of providing quality healthcare to

the people of our province,” Premier Mabuyane said.

As of Monday, the Eastern Cape screened about 2.5 million people and tested 157 384 people for the coronavirus.

“Out this number, 26 195 tested positive for the coronavirus. I am sad to announce though that we have lost 397 of our people who died due to this virus.  14 081 had recovered,” Mabuyane said.

“As the Eastern Cape Provincial Government, we express our heartfelt condolences to the families who lost their loved ones.”

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