South Africa: Today's latest news and headlines, Tuesday 19 May

Stay up to date with the latest news in South Africa by reviewing all major headlines on Tuesday 19 May.

As South Africa looks ahead to the possibility of entering Level 3 lockdown before the month is done, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga is expected to reveal government's final back-to-school proposal. Meanwhile, Cape Town's burgeoning caseload comes under Health Minister Zweli Mkhize's microscope as a 'serious concern'.


Saving the school year: Motshekga makes her move

After numerous delays and disruptions to the original timetable proposed by the Department of Basic Education, Minister Motshekga is expected to finally reveal government's plan to save the 2020 school year.

Motshekga, who has been locked in meetings with unions, ministers, provincial MECs and the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), will expand on government's phased approach to reopening schools. Motshekga's original proposal, which called for a return to class for Grade 7 and 12 learners on 1 June, was dealt a blow when School Management Teams ignored the call to report for duty earlier this month.

Teachers' unions cite the dire lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and insufficient directives from national government as primary causes for concern. According to recent reports, only education departments in Gauteng and the Western Cape have confirmed their states of readiness.

Police Minister Cele under fire for 'breaking' lockdown law

Police Minister Bheki Cele, who has been unforgiving in his enforcement of stringent lockdown regulations, is now under fire for allegedly violating the very same rules he has been entrusted to uphold.

Cele has been accused of visiting a home owned, but not occupied, by Higher Education Minister Nzimande. Cele has denied the allegations, saying he was responding to a 'tip off' about crime in the area and acted in his professional capacity as minister of police.

Reporters on the scene have, however, claimed that the visit seemed to be of a personal nature, adding that Cele embraced occupants of the home.

Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams was recently handed a two-month suspension for a similar offence

National Assembly Rules Committee meets

The National Assembly Rules Committee will meet to consider which practices under its rules on "Unforeseen Eventualities" can be put in place to enable virtual meetings.

In terms of the National Assembly Rules on "Unforeseen Eventualities" the "Speaker may give a ruling or frame a rule in respect of any eventuality for which these rules or orders of the House do not provide."

In doing so the Speaker must give "due regard to the procedures, precedents, practices and conventions developed by the House and on the basis of constitutional values and principles underpinning an open, accountable and democratic society."

Rule 6 (2) further says that a "rule framed by the Speaker remains in force until the House, based on a recommendation of the Rules Committee, has decided thereon."

Cape Town's grim Level 3 prospects

As most of the country relishes the prospect of moving to a lighter level of lockdown before the end of May, the Western Cape, and Cape Town in particular, stands the greatest risk of being kept at its current level. Health Minister Mkhize has labelled the province a 'serious concern', saying:

"You can't have one province accounting for more than 60% of the figures of the country and the population of that province only accounts for 13% of the country. There is something that is a problem there."

Mkhize explained that the lockdown was not effectively implemented in Cape Town and, as such, the City's prospects of enjoying a reprieve from Level 4 lockdown had been seriously impacted.


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