The Limpopo government plans to build 17 new schools across the province during the next two financial year.
Limpopo Premier, Chupu Mathabatha, revealed this during his State of the Province Adsress (Sopa) on Thursday.
Shedding light on the progress made in improving education, Mathabatha said the province has improved matric result performance from 26.8% Bachelor Passes to 29.1% in 2020.
He added that the province has registered performance increase in seven of the 10 gateway subjects. The premier also promised that 45 new classrooms will be built for Grade R.
“During the next two financial years, we will provide additional 40 schools with adequate water infrastructure. We will provide 100 additional schools with proper sanitation facilities. We will build 17 brand new schools across the province” Mathabatha says.
He has also announced that preparations are underway to roll-out e-learning in the province, which he said MEC for Education, Polly Boshielo, will give details on.
The Democratic Allience (DA) In the province was not impressed with the Premier’s announcement.
The party says the Premier has reneged on his previously promise of building 40 schools with adequate water infrastructure over two years.
“He failed to shed any light on plans to address the infrastructure backlog in the Education Department that amounts to over R20 billion in infrastructure and maintenance backlog,” says DA Limpopo Provincial leader, Jacques Smalle.
Smalle says the Education MEC’s pledge to Boshielo eradicate pit toilets in 2020 has also failed dismally.
Matimba Calvin Ngobeni from the deep rural Potulula area, in the Vhembe District of Limpopo, has beaten the odds exacerbated by novel COVID-19 pandemic and managed to obtain a Bachelor’s Pass.
The 20-year-old Mulima Secondary School learner, which is situated Sio Likhade Village, says doing matric amid COVID-19 was difficult and studying at home because of lockdown exacerbated the situation.
“I am overwhelmed, I don’t even know what to say. The secret to success is hard work,” Ngobeni said.
Ngobeni plans to study law this year.
He calls on the current matriculants to maintain the trend, endure hardship, work hard and study at all times. “I wish them the best,” he adds.
Limpopo province has clinched the 7th spot in this year’s matric results, with an overall pass rate of 68.2%. This was a decline of 5%.
Top 3 performing districts in the province are Waterberg with 77.5% pass followed by Vhembe East with 77.1% and Vhembe West with 72.7%
The MEC for Education in the province, Polly Boshielo, has congratulated the performance by the matric class of 2020, given the difficult conditions that were imposed by the coronavirus.
Boshielo says the department will also focus on improving support for Grade R to 10 to ensure that the learners are able to obtain foundational competencies such as reading, writing and enumerating.
Encouraging the Matric Class of 2020, Limpopo Premier Stan Chupu Mathabatha says the province has always been focused on producing quality passes and that has been obtained by the 2020 class.
“While the overall performance has declined, I am very happy to say that the percentage of our bachelor passes has increased. We have moved from 26.8% bachelor pass in 2019 to 29.1% in 2020” Mathabatha says.
Announcing the overall 2020 matric pass rate on Monday, the Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said, for the past 10 years the National Senior Certificate (NSC) pass rate have consistently been improving from 60% in 2009 to above 70% in recent years.
She says the class of 2020 must be commended for maintaining the trend, with an overall pass rate of 76. 2 %.
Though this is a decline of 5% from the pass record of 81.3% achieved by the class of 2019, Motshekga says quality passes were achieved by the 2020 class.
“The high quality passes we have achieved this year, especially the number of Bachelor and Diploma passes, the overall pass mark, and the passes with distinctions, even in critical subjects, are the hallmark of the performance of the class of 2020” Motshekga says.
The Minister added that had it not been for the COVID-19 the class of 2020 could have been the best performers since the inception of the National Senior Certificate.
The Deputy Minister of Transport, Dikeledi Magadzi, has donated 179 bicycles to pupils at the Northam Comprehensive School in Thabazimbi, Limpopo. The donation is part of the department’s Shova Kalula Scholar Transport Programme aimed at solving mobility problems for learners walking more than three kilometers to school.
The department has been able to deliver more than 100 000 bicycles to deserving schools in the nine provinces since 2001 when the programme commenced. “The Shova Kalula Programme, looks at helping pupils who walk up to five kilometers to school. The bicycles are given to them, so that they can reach schools on time,” Magadzi says.
The Deputy Minister says they are also working with the education department to assist pupils who don’t qualify for scholar transport. “Scholar Transport is given to pupils who walk from 5 kilometers and more hence, those who walk up to 5 kilometers are given bicycles” Magadzi explains.
Magadzi added that the Transport Department, after donating the bicycles, conduct an impact assessment to monitor how the donations have assisted learners.
The Deputy Minister was accompanied by amongst others, the MEC for Education in Limpopo, Polly Boshielo, MEC for Transport and Community Safety, Mavhungu Lerule-Ramakhanya, and Dickson Masemola, who is the MEC for Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure.
Limpopo Premier Stanley Mathabatha and Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba, have on Friday launched the province’s COVID-19 vaccine roll-out programme at Mankweng Hospital, in the Capricorn District.
This follows the arrival of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the country on Tuesday, with President Cyril Ramaphosa, Health Minister Dr Zwelini Mkhize marking the official start of the vaccination programme in the country on Wednesday.
They joined healthcare workers at the Khayelitsha District Hospital where they were the first to receive the COVID-19 jab.
Mathabatha has described the launch as the last push towards the fight of the COVID-19, which he says will give birth to a new normal.
Mathabatha says it is crucial for health workers to be vaccinated in the first phase to save lives.
Dr Ramathuba says they will be vaccinating health workers in Mankweng Hospital throughout the weekend
“We are going to push and make sure that by the end of the week, all those vaccines that have been allocated, they are finished, and we will be waiting for the second batch” she says.
Limpopo currently has 61 260 COVID-19 cases and 1 785. It is hoped the vaccine will help South Africa, with the most cases and deaths on the continent, win the battle against the pandemic.
Limpopo’s Ponani Petunia Makhubele is amongst four candidates who have been sworn in as members of Parliament in a hybrid swearing in ceremony by the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Lechesa Tsenoli.
They are filling vacancies that were present in the National Assembly following the passing on of ANC MPs, Dr Pumza Dyantyi, Advocate Loyiso Mpumlwana, Nomvuzo Shabalala, Nombulelo Hermans and Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu.
In 2019, Makhubele’s name was mysteriously removed from the list of the ANC party members going to Parliament after the general elections.
She then took the party to court and won. However, the governing party did not implement the court ruling until now.
“It is true that I have taken the ANC to court after my name was removed from the list of Parliament, but then between 2019 and this week nothing much has happened in particular between myself and the ANC PEC in Limpopo” she says.
Makhubela says the governing party’s highest-decision making structure, the National Executive Committee, has been discussing the matter form November last year, but because of COVID-19 the matter was not finalised.
“The ANC officials contacted me, to inform me about taking an oath in Parliament and just accepted, there is no longer a court case, any outstanding matters will be between me and the ANC,” she says.
Makhubele has defended the ANC’s integrity, saying there is nothing wrong with the party but individuals who misuse their positions of power.
The Giyani-born Makhubele replaces Hermans and has a rich political background.
Heavy rains continue to lash the Vhembe District in Limpopo due to tropical Cyclone Eloise, which has been downgraded to an overland depression.
The district spokesperson, Rudzani Ralushai, says although the cyclone was not as severe as it was anticipated, road infrastructures, bridges and houses in area, particularly in Tshakhuma Village, were damaged by heavy rains and floods, leading to the evacuation of some community members.
Ralushai says the electrical infrastructures were also damaged.
“We are happy with the response of the district disaster management team and the support coming from the department of social development in terms of food parcels in areas where community members are affected,” he says.
Ralushai has reiterated a call for residents to remain vigilant and avoid playing or crossing flooded rivers.
The cyclone has caused no major damages in the Mopani District.
Spokesperson Odas Ngobeni says some municipalities are currently experiencing light rain and some roads are flooded and damaged.
The Limpopo Department of Social Development is distributing relief to households that have been affected by the localised floods in the Vhembe and Mopani districts.
The spokesperson for the department, Witness Tiva, says: “Thus far, an assessment conducted by social workers and community development practitioners and other government officials identified 80 families with the majority in the Vhembe District. The affected are in the Thulamela, Collins Chabane, Musina, Makhado, and Greater Letaba local municipalities.”
The department is assisting families with parcels, dignitary packs, blankets and other basic amenities. There were no fatalities or injuries reported in both districts.
Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga residents are bracing themselves for Tropical Storm Eloise, which is expected to hit the local shores on Sunday.
Heavy rains and floods are expected to lash the Mopani and Vhembe districts, among other parts of the country.
The two municipalities say they are prepared for any disaster that may occur and are working closely with the national disaster management team.
Mopani District Spokesperson, Odas Ngobeni, says they have roped in the health, and environmental health practitioners to make sure that the municipality observes lockdown regulations such as social distancing, in cases where individuals may be required to be evacuated to community halls.
The Vhembe District Municipality Spokesperson, Matodzi Ralushai, is urging community members to remain vigilant at all times.
In KwaZulu-Natal, meteorologist Mkhushulwa Msimango says the cyclone could wreak havoc in parts of the province.
Msimango is also warning people to be extra careful on Sunday and Monday.
Meanwhile, power utility, Eskom, says it has made contingency plans to mitigate any risks and the possible impact on infrastructure and the provision of electricity.
Mpumalanga, where most of the power utility’s power stations are situated, is one of the areas expected to be hard hit by the storm. Eskom Spokesperson, Sikonathi Mantshantsha, says the power stations will implement wet coal contingency plans should the need arise.
“Typically, heavy rainfall for four or less days does not pose a significant threat to power station operations, but continuous heavy rainfall for more than four days does hamper coal handling at the power stations and the mines supplying them. There are some power stations in the Mpumalanga area that have been experiencing ash dam constraints. Continuous heavy rainfall over these power stations could hamper operations and recovery efforts already under way,” says Mantshantsha.
Disaster management authorities in Mpumalanga are also on high alert.
The cyclone is currently lashing parts of Mozambique. – Additional reporting by Maputuland FM News Editor, Philani Zulu.
The department announced the move on Saturday, following a meeting with the Council of Education Ministers (CEM).
The council is made up of education MECs.
Its resolve follows a high court judgment on Friday, which set government’s decision for matrics to write the leaked papers on December 15 and 17, respectively.
“CEM agreed that the Class of 2020 has been confronted by many challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it would therefore be unfair to further subject the Class of 2020, their teachers and parents to further uncertainties and exacerbate the anxieties they currently face.”
Congress Of South African Students (Cosas) is elated over the developments.
Reacting to the Friday court ruling, the organisation’s National Spokesperson, Douglas Ngobeni, said: “We are happy that the court made a sober ruling, a sober decision that our learners can not be subjected to cleaning up after the mess of the Department of Basic Education.”
The Professional Educators Union (Peu) has welcomed the Department of Basic Education’s decision for leaked exams to be rewritten.
This comes amid dissent over the decision announced by Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, on Friday. She said matriculants will re-write maths paper 2 and physical science paper 2 on 15 and 17 December, respectively.
The task team set up to probe the matter has said it couldn’t establish how many schools and learners had access to the two leaked papers prior the exam.
Peu Spokesperson, Klass Mohlatlole, says it is those findings that made the organisation throw its weight behind the DBE’s stance.
Mohlatlole adds that this should be done to protect the quality of education and matric results.
The union is urging matriculants to ignore calls for a rewrite boycott.
The call comes amid revolt from learner organisation Cosas and teachers union Sadtu. Both organisations have approached the courts in a bid to have the decision overturned. Cosas National Spokesperson Douglas Ngobeni filed an urgent interdict in the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday, while Sadtu went to court on Monday.
“Part of the documents which were submitted to the court of law are the affidavits written by learners expressing their outrage regarding the exam rewrite”, Ngobeni says.
Ngobeni adds that their rejection of the exam rewrite was derived from concerns from learners.