Nyanga prin­ci­pals say safety fears ig­nored

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS - TSHEGO LEPULE

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.

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