The Gauteng Province Government led by Premier David Makhura yesterday began leading a three-day programme of school readiness activities to mark the commencing of the new academic year.
Among the members of the Executive Council who are participating is MEC for Community Safety Ms Faith ‘Tjovitjo’ Mazibuko. She was accompanied by SAPS members who include Gauteng Provincial SAPS Commissioner, Lt Gen Elias Mawela, Sedibeng District SAPS Commissioner, Major Gen Zodwa Molefe, Brigadier PP Mokoena and Brigadier SE Mokoena Station Commander of Sebokeng SAPS.
Also present were: the Sedibeng District Municipality MMC Mamokete Radebe, Emfuleni Public Safety MMC Ndade Mokoena, Emfuleni Speaker Cllr Sibongile Soxusa, Emfuleni Chief Whip Cllr Silver Jantjie, Councillors Mathapelo Dondolo & M. D Molefe, CPF members, dignitaries from the Department of Education, GBV Brigades, members of the Parliamentary Constituency Department, Department of Social Development, SGB and Student Union representatives.
The MEC first visited Boitumelo Secondary School in Sebokeng. Several members of her team addressed the school learners. Among them was Lt Gen Elias Mawela, who encouraged learners to talk to police officers. He said that police officers are there to help them and they shouldn’t be scared of them. He also stated that SAPS endeavours to cultivate a safe learning environment for the learners. Learners were urged to stay away from drugs and criminal activities.
MEC Mazibuko urged the learners to be vaccinated, respect their teachers and each other and also continue to look after their school. Listen to the speech on SoundCloud
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We spoke to Mr Sampie Mthimkhulu, Principal of Boitumelo Secondary School. He reassured parents that the school is a safe school that takes care of their children. Mr Mthimkhulu reported that he is pleased to see that all learners were present at school and learning and teaching have already started. “Last year we faced a challenge as electrical cables were stolen. We hope that this year we won’t experience such issues.”
The MEC met a couple of parents at the school reception on her way out. She enquired from them their reasons for visiting the school so early in the new term. Apparently, the parents were seeking grade eight placements. The MEC adviced them to go to the Department of Basic Education (DBE) District Office as the school was already full, “Why did you not apply during the application period? Why are you coming to school only today?” The parents’ reply was that the online application system was constantly offline, hence they failed to apply for their children. This is a statement that was reiterated by Cllr Dondolo later on in an interview. The parents told the MEC that they were unable to go to the district office because they did not have any money for taxi. Mazibuko requested the assistance of the DBE officials to explain to the parents the only solution to their problem was a visit to their offices.
We also spoke to the school Departmental Head of Life Sciences and School Governing Body (SGB) member, Mr Khoaele who confidently confirmed that the teaching staff members were more than ready for the new academic year. He said that sanitisation of students and staff members is done constantly during the day, Covid-19 regulations were being observed and there was nothing to be concerned about.
MEC Mazibuko and the team also visited Mohaladitoe Secondary and Ikageng Montessori Preschool in Sebokeng as well and spoke to the Principal Ms Thuli Myeni. The Department of Social Development Sedibeng Region donated dignity packs to the secondary school learners. Trees were planted at each school visited.
Article written by Constance van Niekerk (Connie V) Editor of Afrique Beat News firstname.lastname@example.org