Statement from provincial department on schools opening on Thursday:
Schools across the Western Cape will reopen tomorrow (Thursday, 8 June), following the severe storm that struck the province on Tuesday night.
The department decided to close schools today (Wednesday, 7 June) after receiving information on the severity of the storm from Western Cape Disaster Management Centre and the South African Weather Services.
We understand that the storm will abate overnight. There is no truth in rumours that schools would remain closed until the end of the week. There may be exceptions at certain schools that have been severely damaged by the storm.
Our district directors will liaise with the principals on contingency plans for these schools. A total of 22 schools reported damage by 14h00 today (Wednesday, 7 June). The department expects to receive further reports as schools mop up on Thursday.
Most of the damage has been to roofs, fallen trees and broken fences. Schools are reporting storm damage to our Safe Schools Call Centre. It is too early to assess the costs involved.
Our infrastructure staff will work with schools and the Department of Transport and Public Works to assess damages. The WCED decided to close school today as a precautionary measure on the advice of Disaster Management and the Weather Services. Our primary concern has been the safety of learners and staff.
The damage to certain schools suggests good reason for this concern. In addition, those who commute to school may have been at risk, especially in rural areas. The decision to close schools today has disrupted school programmes.
We deeply appreciate the understanding of parents, principals and teachers, and their willingness to work with our officials in meeting these challenges positively.