In his address to the nation on Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that schools would be closed from Wednesday, which is why the government has urged parents to take responsibility for their children in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu called on parents and communities to play their part in navigating the pandemic.
“Parents must step up and work with social development, work with government,” said Motshekga.
President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Sunday as the number of coronavirus cases in SA increases.
She responded to criticism of schools closing early, saying it was only a few days as the end of the term was a week away.
“Communities will be taking care of their children as they always do. We close for three weeks in June and they know how to look after their children as they always do… In December, we close for six weeks,” she pointed out.
Echoing her views, Zulu called on parents to take “responsibility” for their children, saying the government did not want children running around and spreading the virus.
Ramaphosa also announced on Sunday that the government was prohibiting gatherings of 100 people or more, and this as the country headed toward the Easter season, which usually included numerous religious gatherings of thousands.
“We don’t wish, at any point, to be calling out anyone to enforce mass separation,” International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor said. “The key issue is that all of us can act.”
Government leaders are set to meet with religious leaders on Thursday to further discuss the issue.
As for questions around social distancing for millions of South Africans who rely on the public transport system, the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, announced that heightened awareness and education campaigns are at the center of the government’s plan.
Mbalula said numerous discussions on how to mitigate the virus were taking place.
“Where appropriate and practical, screening facilities will also be provided.”
He said the targeted screening would take place at all taxi ranks and numerous train stations in Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Pretoria, Bloemfontein, and Port Elizabeth.
The minister also said taxis, trains, and buses would be sanitized after each trip, emphasizing that there would be intensive and regular cleaning and sanitization at major stations.
“Provision of hand sanitizers at key points of embarkation and encouraging public transport operators to provide sanitizers for commuters,” said Mbalula.