The rural Nyanga High School in eNgcobo, in the Eastern Cape, is mourning the passing of its deputy principal, Makhosandile Mngwewu.
The 53-year-old and his brother Dr Thandukwazi Mngwewu lost their lives to COVID-19 on Sunday.
The pair had contracted the virus at the burial of their elder sister a few weeks prior to their deaths.
Mngwewu’s death comes amid concerns about the possible impact COVID-19 will have on the 2021 academic calendar.
Education authorities expressed the concern after learning of the death of 32 teachers in one province in less than a week.
The Educators’ Union of South Africa (EUSA) believes the situation is much dire.
The organisation says it has received over 900 reports of teachers who have succumbed to the disease this festive period.
It believes that more than 1 000 teachers have died in less than 15 days since the schools closed on December 15.
The Eastern Cape alone has lost at least 162 teachers from December 18.
Provincial Premier Oscar Mabuyane has rejected claims that eased regulations were the reason behind the resurgence of infections in the country.
He has cited non-compliance to COVID-19 regulations and funerals as super spreaders of the virus.
“While on this point of non-adherence with regulations. I want to appeal once again to our people to bury their loved ones within 72 hours like we did during the first wave. Funerals are one of the super spreaders of COVID-19 infections. Most people go to funerals and days after they get sick and most do not survive. That is how severe infections at funerals are. Families and reverend must conclude burials in strictly two hours,” he says.
He has also denied claims that the province’s hospitals are out of beds. Mabuyane says average daily admissions decreased by 46.6% from December 14 to the 21st.
“Tied to the availability of beds, is the efficient supply of Oxygen in our hospitals, which is essential for COVID-19 patients. Afrox has committed to meet oxygen demands of our hospitals throughout the festive season.”
The Eastern Cape is currently leading the country’s nine provinces with the number of fatalities standing at 7 171. It has 5 863 cases and 155 056 recoveries.
South Africa’s COVID-19 cases have surpassed the one million mark and government has returned the country to level 3 lockdown in efforts to slow down the spread of the virus.