Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said she has not lost touch with the reality poor communities face, but she is advised by expert on her decisions.
Motshekga, who has been widely criticised for reopening schools during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, says she grew up in a township and has not abandoned her roots.
“I am a township girl and that is where I grew up. All my siblings are in the townships. All my life, I have lived in the township and I have not lost touch. I continue to function in the community as a deployee.
”My constituency is in the townships. I have not lost contact with my parents. On a regular basis, I visit schools in townships. Actually, our main interest is in supporting pupils who are most vulnerable,” Motshekga said.
She was responding to criticism from most quarters that she had lost touch with reality, particularly following her decision to return grades R, 6 and 11 to school last week.
Asked how she sleeps at night, knowing that a child could be infected by Covid-19 while at school, Motshekga said she normally didn’t talk about her personal experiences because that didn’t inform what she did.
“It is really about the mandate from the ruling party; also the directives from the department of health, the World Health Organisation and the advisory committee.
”My personal experiences don’t influence the decisions we make, but, rather, the objective realities facing me are the ones that matter the most,” she said.
She said the impact of Covid-19 on the public education sector had been stressful for everybody.
“But we also have to contend with the fact that the advice from world health experts is that we need to live side by side with Covid-19.”