Marking continues in Mpumalanga amid fears over COVID-19

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Teacher unions in Mpumalanga say although there are few cases of COVID-19 reported in various Grade 12 marking centres in the province, most of their members fear contracting the virus.

This follows Education MEC, Bonakele Majuba’s announcement during a visit to marking centres in Middelburg that nine teachers have tested positive for the coronavirus. However, the Education Department says the process of marking Grade 12 scripts continues smoothly.

National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) Provincial Secretary, Steven Kunene, says teachers are determined to complete their task.

He says most of the teachers, who withdrew from marking centres, had personal problems unrelated to the coronavirus.

“Conditions are stressful due to COVID-19 because of the second wave but our people are continuing with the marking. And then in some cases, there are those who are sharing accommodation. In one instance in Emakhazeni I was told that there was one marker who had symptoms and the guy requested to be released. And when he tested back home in Bushbuckridge he tested positive. In many centers that I checked this morning everybody is talking about the pressure, the stress, and the fear as everybody in the communities is afraid but they are continuing well.”

Mpumalanga South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) Secretary, Walter Hlayise concurs. Hlayise is also satisfied with the precautionary measures put in place by the Education Department.

“Our monitoring has been done and we have noted that there are hand sanitisers around all centres. There is a distance so that people are far from each other. We think that the necessary precautions have been taken. So far in terms of precautionary measures and the wearing of masks at least there is proof that that have been adhered to.”

Meanwhile, Education MEC, Bonake Majuba visited two marking centres in Middelburg. So far, he is satisfied with the progress.

“I can say that the process of marking is proceeding quite well and we were informed that nine teachers got infected with COVID-19 and we only had one incident of a teacher who also suffered from other chronic illnesses and he was asked to go home and we were told that we lost that teacher.”

Majuba has also encouraged markers to continue observing all COVID-19 protocols and to avoid any possible spread of the virus.

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