March for school safety
THE calls for safer schools and communities in the Western Cape are getting louder.
On Friday people from schools and activist organisations marched to Parliament.
They demanded the provincial and national governments provide the resources necessary to make schools and communities safer, as well as an equitable distribution of police resources in less affluent areas.
The march from Keizersgracht Street to Parliament culminated in the handing over of a memorandum of demands to Allan Subban from the Department of Basic Education.
Mandisa Dyantyi, deputy secretary general of the Social Justice Coalition, said those in attendance were there because crime has been running rife in communities and schools.
“Lives of black poor students matter, lives of black communities matter. We demand to be safe in our communities and we’re here to tell the people we voted for to do their jobs,” she said.
Dyantyi said Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula was distributing police resources in an unjust manner.
“We need more police resources in areas that are heavily burdened with crime.”
Jamiella Chandley, a pupil from Elswood High School in Elsies River, said pupils had to dodge bullets when going to school and school resources as well as sanitation problems needed to be addressed.
“Our toilets are dirty and stinking and this causes diseases like TB. They are also broken so we need more. We also have a lack of textbooks and our safety is not secure,’’ she said.
June Esau from Unite Behind said government officials should experience first hand what many go through to live and go to school.
“Safe schools is a right and we should take President Jacob Zuma and the minister of human settlements and go and live in Hanover Park. Let them experience the pain, humiliation and the indigent life that our people have to live,” she said.
The memorandum was addressed to Premier Helen Zille, Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga, MEC for Education Debbie Schäfer, Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula and others.
It called for a public recognition of the safety crisis in the Western Cape “that all public schools have adequate security fencing, access control, metal detectors, alarms and panic buttons”.
The memorandum also called for “safe ways for learners to report rape and sexual assault to ensure that those who survive these experiences can report without being further victimised”.
Pupils, teachers and parents from all over the Western Cape march to Parliament on Friday to call for greater safety at schools.