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Parents concerned about safety at schools after return dates set

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Parents and guardians are worried their own shortcomings in homeschooling will be shown up when schools reopen partially from next week.

Some are also concerned about whether adequate hygiene and safety measures will be in place to ensure their children are protected from Covid-19.

Madeline September has two children, one in grade 7 — classes of which are scheduled to resume on May 6 — and the other in grade 9 who is scheduled for a June 17 return to class, according to the Covid-19 basic education sector plan.

“I don’t think May 6 will work. There is so much that needs to be done before we can safely send our children back to school, and what will happen with schools that don’t meet the checklist?” asks the concerned Pretoria mom.

With both parents working during the pandemic, Yolanda Kunene has been helping her siblings with homework since the beginning of the lockdown and welcomes the reopening of schools under safety regulations.

“It’s been really difficult for us because I understand that some of the work they were given hasn’t been taught to them because of the lockdown so I have had to watch YouTube videos and teach myself so that I can explain it to them,” she said.

Kunene says that she can’t help her siblings with all their work because it’s been more than five years since she matriculated and some of the concepts are foreign to her.

Jabulani Mkhwente says that he feels so discouraged that he hasn’t been able to help his children during the lockdown and fears that they will fall behind with the curriculum.

“I can’t read well or write well. I stopped schooling in standard 5, back in the day, because there was not enough money to take me and my siblings to school. I wish I could help them,” he said.

The concerned father of two says that he is not comfortable sending his children back to school.

“It has been years since the government said it will address access to water and sanitation in the Eastern Cape but they haven’t. They say now they are going to fix it. Until I see it for myself, my kids will stay at home until Christmas if need be,” he said.

Basic education director-general Mathanzima Mweli told MPs on Wednesday that the department was planning to phase in the return of pupils to school, starting with grades 7 and 12 pupils. Other grades will return over a period of weeks between May and July, as the lockdown restrictions are gradually eased, with the last batch (grade Rs) expected to go back on July 15.

On social media, some South Africans expressed concerns over health and safety at schools while others wondered how to keep their children learning through the staggered return to classes — and an expected phased return to work.

Prashna Vallabh commented, “This is scary, sending our children back when the virus numbers are still rising, during winter especially.”

But Daniel Steyn said, “That’s ludicrous. How are parents going to keep the kids home schooled until mid-July while they have to work?”

Cherece Keil asked, “What about preschools and nursery schools?”

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Skeem Saam’s Koko Mantsha death dismissed as fake news

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Koko Mantsha, the popular Skeem Saam character acto, real name, Lydia Mokgokoloshi is not dead.

Social media is awash with news of her death which seems to have been fuelled by fake news sites aiming to profit from unsuspecting lovers of the 80 year-old veteran actress.

Lydia Mokgokoloshi, has appeared in many television shows including Muvhango and Bophelo ke semphego.

Mokgokoloshi was born on 27 September 1939, in Polokwane, Polokwane Local Municipality, Capricorn District Municipality, Limpopo.

She is most famous for acting as Koko Mantsha the grandmother of Katlego Pietersen (Patrick Seleka) in the soap, Skeem Saam.

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Watch: Thulani Dlomo an alleged ‘Zuma spy’, hands himself in

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Thulani Dlomo, the axed former SSA top spy and former SA ambassador to Japan has handed himself over to police on Friday.

Dlomo’s lawyer Philani Shangase said that he handed himself over at his own will at the Durban Central Police station on Friday.

He said Dlomo was not arrested but wanted to clear his name following media reports.

Dlomo was being interviewed by police officers at 17h00 on Friday.

“He has denied all wrong doing,” Shangase said.

Dlomo was suspected to be one of the instigators of the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

This is a developing story.

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Residents warned against consuming dead fish washing up at Umhlanga and Umdloti beaches – video

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The eThekwini Municipality has sent out a warning to residents against collecting and consuming dead fish and crayfish that have washed up on the beaches of Umhlanga and Umdloti, north of Durban.

The public has been asked to refrain from fishing, surfing and swimming on the beaches after a video of the dead fish on the beaches emerged on social media.

The municipality said it was investigating what caused the marine life to die.

“It is considered serious and can affect one’s health if collected and consumed.”

According to reports, run-off water and chemicals reached the ocean through storm water drains after firefighters battled a blaze at a chemical plant at Cornubia started by looters on Tuesday.

WATCH | Outrage after several monkeys and dog poisoned in Umdloti

“The public is advised to refrain from all recreational activities, including fishing or surfing, bait collection and picking up of dead species in this area,” said the municipality.

“Collecting or harvesting of any marine living resource in the area is temporarily prohibited until the cause is determined and the threat has abated.

“Authorities are investigating the source of the pollution and cleanup companies are trying to contain the spill.”

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