Looting didn’t negatively affect teacher vaccine rollout

Johannesburg – The Department of Basic Education said that although riots and looting were concerning this week in the vaccination rollout of educators, it didn’t affect operations too much.

The spokesperson for the department, Elijah Mhlanga said that by the deadline, Wednesday 6pm, 500 000 educators and support staff in the sector had received their J&J vaccines.

“The target was 582 000 which means a large majority of the personnel had been vaccinated,” he said.

He also stated that there was no need to extend the vaccination deadline because registrations for all persons from the ages of 35-49 opened on Thursday.

“That means those who have not vaccinated will be covered in that category,” said Mhlanga.

He again mentioned that there were many people who could not be vaccinated for the following reasons: Their details did not appear on the EVDS system, they were requested to return at a later date, Those who contracted COVID-19 in the last 30 days, Those who took the flu vaccine in the last 14 days, Those who were unwell for reasons unrelated to Covid-19 and those hesitant to take the vaccine for undisclosed reasons, eg: religious as sited anecdotally by some.

“The unrest affected the vaccination programme after the critical number of people had already been assisted. Some centres in both KZN and Gauteng were closed as a result but people were advised to go to sites that were not in affected areas,” he said.

Mhlanga also said they did not receive any reports of schools having been vandalised or looted.

But on Thursday, The National Professional Teachers’ Organisation (Naptosa) reported that 32 schools had been vandalised and looted in KwaZulu-Natal Manuel reported that a provincial list showed that three schools were burnt, while four schools in the Umgungundlovu area were looted of computers, office equipment and furniture.

Schools were also looted and burnt in Pinetown, Umlazi and the Harry Gwala district.

“It is a fact that the vandalising of schools is not perpetrated by unknown forces, but by persons living in the community. Therefore, others in the community must know those responsible. We call on them to come forward and do the right thing,” said Manuel.

Doctor Reginah Mhaule tweeted that she was shocked that schools were now being attacked while Spokesperson for KwaZulu-Natal Education Kwazi Mthethwa said the department was trying to establish the number of schools that had been vandalised and looted, and the extent of the damage.

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