Ministers cancel briefings as Level 3 lockdown speculation mounts

Two media briefings scheduled to take place on Thursday 21 May have been postponed until further notice. Ministers Blade Nzimande and Bheki Cele have left us in the dust. 


Two big media briefings postponed on a Thursday? Is this a coincidence or can we expect something bigger than the two media briefings? Perhaps an address from President Cyril Ramaphosa? 

TWO MINISTERS POSTPONE BRIEFINGS 


Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Blade Nzimande was meant to hold a media briefing on matters pertaining to the COVID-19 lockdown in the higher education, science and innovation sector. The briefing was meant to be held at 11:00 on Thursday. 


Nzimande was expected to address, amongst other issues, NSFAS allowances, SETAs stipends and the return of medical students to campus. There was also meant to be an update on research on South Africa's traditional medicine and the engagements with stakeholders in relation to indigenous knowledge systems and COVID-19. 


Government Communications announced the briefing's postponement shortly before 11:00, saying:


"The Higher Education media briefing is postponed". 




Minister of Police Bheki Cele was also expected to hold a media briefing at 15:00 on Thursday. He was expected to hold a virtual media briefing to give an update on the level of compliance and adherence to the COVID-19 lockdown regulations in the country. 


Before the briefing could take place, government communications once again announced:: 


"[The] media briefing is postponed". 




Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga also postponed her briefing more than once in the last month. In her last postponement, she said the department was waiting on all provinces to put forth their readiness to receive learners.


On Tuesday 19 May, Motshekga finally announced that Grades 7 and 12 learners would be the first to return to school on 1 June.

LOCKDOWN SPECULATION 


It's 21 May and the last Ramaphosa took to the podium to address the nation, he said he hopes that most of the country could downgrade to Level 3 at the end of May — that's about a week from now. 


So, as one would expect, the pressure is mounting and so is speculation. 


On top of that, it's a Thursday and we all know that on a Thursday, some parts of the nation expect the president to speak. We have learnt a thing or two though. Based on previous weeks, we've realised that if the presidency does not announce that Ramaphosa will speak, then it ain't happening and it can be taken as fake news. 


Although there's speculation in the air, it's a Thursday, it's around one week before the end of the month and two ministers have postponed their scheduled briefings, let's not jump to conclusions. 


We patiently await the presidency for confirmation.