TEACHERS DESERVE PROTECTION
TIGHT security measures, including the use of technology, should be put in place to prevent the killing of teachers in our country, the latest being a maths teacher at a Cape Town primary school on Tuesday.
The attack on Thulani Manqoyi while sitting in his parked vehicle at Heinz Park Primary school demonstrates that teachers have become soft targets for criminals, even at their places of work. The two suspects behind the brutal murder allegedly held security guards at gunpoint before approaching the father of three and shooting him in the head and shoulder, which has led his family to believe the attack may have been planned.
The incident happened three months after Buyani Primary School principal Lazarous Baloyi in Finetown, Gauteng, was shot dead, also on school premises, becoming the third school principal to be executed in the area in just 90 days. He, too, came under attack while still in his car on the school’s driveway, and we have yet to hear of anyone being arrested for what Gauteng MEC Panyaza Lesufi described as a hit after viewing camera footage.
Another principal, Ntombizandile Goniwe, in Kraaifontein, Cape Town, has been placed on special leave following death threats and a car reportedly following her was seen parked outside the school premises.
These and other similar incidents should be enough reason for education MECs, along with ministers in the security cluster, to come together and devise a plan to stop our schools from becoming killing grounds.
This should be underpinned by the use of technology and tightened surveillance. The communities, too, should not leave this responsibility to those in power. The killers live in our communities. They are our children, neighbours and friends.
We agree with Progressive Principals’ Association spokesperson Anthea Adriaanse’s views that: “Teaching and learning cannot thrive if the right to safety is compromised. Principals and teachers face threats when their decisions and actions are not in accordance with the perpetrators’ expectations. This is unacceptable and makes teaching, especially in township schools, a high risk.”
The more teachers are attacked at schools, the bleaker our country’s future.