Zimbabwe teachers working in Limpopo ‘locked outside SA’ due to restrictions

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CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 01: Desks and chairs ready for grade 12 peoples seen at Horskool Jan van Riebeeck, a Afrikaans highschool on June 01, 2020 in Cape Town, South Africa. Western Cape schools opened for grade 7 and grade 12 learners for the first time since lockdown started at the end of March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Nardus Engelbrecht/Gallo Images via Getty Images)

A process is under way to bring 16 school teachers from Zimbabwe who work in Limpopo but have been unable to return to SA due to the coronavirus lockdown, local publication Times Live reported.

According to the report, the DA in Limpopo has called on provincial education MEC Polly Boshielo to engage home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi to allow teachers working in Limpopo to enter the country.

Limpopo education spokesperson Tidimalo Chuene confirmed that the provincial education department employed a total of 379 foreign educators, teaching mathematics and physical science in secondary schools.

However, according to the spokesperson, twenty of them were locked outside the country in Zimbabwe due to the national lockdown.

“The department of home affairs has thus far assisted four to return to South Africa,” she said.

Chuene said 16 were still not yet back, but processes were under way to help them return.

DA MPL Jacques Smalle said during an education portfolio committee meeting last week that the province had about 400 gateway subject teachers, mostly from Zimbabwe, that could not enter the province due to cross-border travel restrictions.

“The failure of these gateway subject teachers to enter the country and resume work will have an extremely negative effect on the preparation of learners for their final exams and their chances to achieve good marks for admission into institutions of higher learning,” said Smalle.

“The impact of the failure of these teachers to resume work is further compounded by the fact that almost half the school year has been lost due to Covid-19.”

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