Tonight, as President Ramaphosa addressed the nation, a shred of hope was left in South Africans. The President announced that schools will be closed due to the rise in infections.
He said that: “… Department of Basic Education has met with more than 60 organisations representing parents, school governing bodies, principals, educators, independent schools and civil society organisations. It has also consulted with the Council of Education Ministers, representing the provincial education departments.”
The decision was made in these meetings to ensure the health and well-being of the learners who have returned to school.
Schools will close from 27 July and will re-open on 24 August with the exception of Gr 7 and Gr 12 learners.
The Gr 12 learners and teachers will be returning on 3 August and the Gr 7 learners and teachers will be returning on 10 August.
He continued by saying that the Minister of Basic Education will provide more information on the matter.
The National School Nutrition Programme will continue to operate to ensure the well-being of learners.
The President continued and spoke about the R 500 billion social relief and economic support package.
The R 500 billion has assisted the country in the health response to the coronavirus.
“This includes additional expenditure on personal protective equipment, community screening, increased testing capacity, additional beds in field hospitals, ventilators, medicine and staffing.”
He stressed that the fund has also assisted families and individuals in the relief of hunger and social distress.
“Over 4.4 million people have now received the special COVID-19 grant, which assists those who are unemployed and do not receive other forms of support. So far, an amount of R 2.2 billion has been paid out to these recipients.”
Furthermore, the fund has been used to support small businesses in the form of loans, grants and business restructuring.
The UIF’s special COVID-19 assistance has paid out R 34 billion, helping over seven-and-a-half million workers.
“The rules of the scheme have been adjusted to expand the eligibility criteria and increase uptake, making it easier for businesses to access finance during this period,” said the President.
He continued: “Over R 70 billion in tax relief has also been provided to companies.”
During this time, corruption allegations have been flying around. The President spoke about the preventative measure that have been put in place to ensure that corruption comes to an end.
The President signed a proclamation authorising the Special Investigating Unit to investigate any such allegations and to ensure that he receives reports every 6 weeks.
“The Auditor-General has also adopted special measures to safeguard funds committed to the fight against COVID-19. Special audits have been undertaken to detect and prevent misuse of these funds and to identify risks in the system.
In addition to all these measures we have established a collaborative and coordinating centre to strengthen the collective efforts among law enforcement agencies so as to prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute COVID-related corruption.
This centre brings together nine state institutions.
These are the Financial Intelligence Centre, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, the National Prosecuting Authority, the Hawks, Crime Intelligence and the SAPS Detective Service, the South African Revenue Service, the Special Investigating Unit and the State Security Agency.”
This was decided as there are at least 36 cases open and being investigated at the moment.
Time will only tell what the future holds for South Africa and its citizens.