Nyanga principals say safety fears ignored
PRINCIPALS in Nyanga say their schools are plagued by violence and crime and are calling for government action to ensure safety.
The issue arose during a meeting with the Parliament’s standing committee on education this week.
The committee was invited to engage with principals following a petition from community leader Mlandeli Mbiko over problems facing Liwa Primary School which include frequent burglaries and vandalism.
The school has seen the loss of valuable class equipment, alarm systems, a remote-controlled gate, hijacking of visitor’s cars and prostitution in the area.
Owen Molakeng, a principal from John Phama Primary School, said safety need not only be the responsibility of affected schools.
“Our concern in terms of school safety is that the WCED (Western Cape Education Department) tends to only respond only when there is a crisis.
“Their policy is to tend to wait until a school learner is shot or a teacher before responding. I don’t understand why we must beg the department for cameras; we cannot go on like this.”
Molakeng said the school had to hire security guards which put a strain on finances.
“This costs us R5 000 every month, which has to come out of the school’s budget,” he said.
But the Department of Education’s spokeswoman, Millicent Merton said the department does not provide CCTV cameras, adding that schools are welcome to install their own. She said the department’s Safe Schools programme had a strategy that involves supplying fencing, burglar bars, alarms and armed response, a crime prevention programme that focuses on behavioural changes in learners and developing relationships with communities.
“Educational institutions are encouraged to access the support offered by Safe Schools and to make use of the above services by applying for them in writing via the District Safe Schools Co-ordinator,” she said.
Earlier this week, 15-yearold Nadelin Lukas was stabbed to death in the neck by a fellow pupil of the same age following an argument said to be gang-related at Scottsdene High School in Kraaifontein.