March for school safety

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS - LUKE FOLB

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”.

PIC­TURE: AYANDA NDAMANE/ANA

Pupils, teach­ers and par­ents from all over the Western Cape march to Par­lia­ment on Fri­day to call for greater safety at schools.

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