Deputy President Mabuza: ‘It is not time to drop our guard’

Deputy President Mabuza: ‘It is not time to drop our guard’

Deputy President David Mabuza has warned that COVID-19 remains a death sentence even though the country has seen a gradual downturn in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases and daily death figures.
He was speaking in Mpumalanga in his capacity as Chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on COVID-19 vaccines.
“[We] need to acknowledge that COVID-19 will continue to be with us for the foreseeable future. The fight against COVID-19 is not over. The threats for the resurgence of infections always loom large, as has been seen across the world.
“This is not the time to be triumphalist, complacent and drop our guard. We need to find ways to adapt and live along this virus in our communities, workplaces, health facilities and schools,” he said on Friday.
In Mpumalanga, the Deputy President, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and Deputy Health Minister Dr Sibonginseni Dhlomo handed over personal protective equipment, sanitiser and other equipment to schools as donated by a private company.
The Deputy President said the recovery from the devastation of the pandemic on the South African economy will require “significant contributions by the private sector”.
“While significant progress has been made in the fight against COVID-19, the aftermath of the devastation and negative impacts have been felt across various sectors of society. Here at home, our prospects for economic growth and employment creation were thwarted by recurring waves of COVID-19 and its variants.
“Livelihoods were decimated across various economic sectors. Therefore, one of the seminal tasks in our COVID-19 response is economic reconstruction and recovery.
“We have to re-build the economy, create employment opportunities and ensure that livelihoods are improved and sustained. We have to ensure that corporate players…continue to expand local investments, access to skills development opportunities, and support to small businesses through deliberate participation in local and global supply value chains,” he said.
Education and the pandemic
The Deputy President said that the education sector in particular has felt the full impact of the pandemic with losses felt in teaching and learning times and rotational learning causing “disruptions” in the lives of learners.
He praised learners, teachers and parents for “staying this difficult course”.
“The implementation of adaptation strategies such as rotational and online learning arrangements, have assisted us in navigating the troubled waters of the pandemic. The Department of Education leadership, led by Minister Motshekga, tried everything possible to sail through this difficult pandemic situation to keep learning programmes on track and deliver excellent matric results.
“[Rotational learning] also caused anxiety for learners who depend on the school feeding system for a meal that they may not have while at home. The social benefits of the schooling environment for social interaction and holistic learner development were also lost. Despite these setbacks, we are still standing,” he said.
As online learning becomes more a norm within schools, government has committed to equalise “uneven access to technology platforms” for learners in rural schools.
“Government will continue to intervene and invest in schools so that schools and poor households are connected in order to have access to latest learning platforms and technologies. [Investment] in information technologies and connectivity infrastructure in schools and rural communities will ensure that our learners are prepared for the ‘new world of work’.
“While these innovations will continue to be embedded in our teaching and learning methodologies and school environments, we are happy that we have reached the stage of the COVID-19 pandemic when a decision could be taken for all learners to return to school,” said Deputy President Mabuza.

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