Rape case puts spot­light on gangs

The Rep - - FRONT PAGE - SIMTEMBILE MGIDI

Gang­ster­ism and the im­pact on Ko­mani schools has come to the fore with the lat­est in­ci­dent of the al­leged rape of a boy by two pupils who are al­legedly gang mem­bers in the school toi­lets of Lukhanji Pri­mary School re­cently.

The two sus­pects are both aged 14.

The vic­tim’s grand­fa­ther said he had noted strange be­hav­iour by the child. When he started en­quir­ing from fam­ily mem­bers, he was told about the al­leged rape.

The child had al­legedly been threat­ened not to tell any­one.

The grand­fa­ther said he was shocked that the school had not com­mu­ni­cated with the fam­ily after the al­leged in­ci­dent was re­ported.

He also said there should have been bet­ter care and se­cu­rity to look after the chil­dren dur­ing school hours.

He said the child had since lost weight and was eas­ily star­tled, with so­cial work­ers called in to help him.

He called for the ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment to be­come more in­volved in mat­ters like this af­fect­ing schools.

School gov­ern­ing body (SGB) chair Dali­wonga

Ado­nis said while pro­ce­dures had to be fol­lowed in terms of pro­tect­ing chil­dren, it had to be con­sid­ered that while the two boys ac­cused of the rape also had a right to ed­u­ca­tion, the other pupils had to be kept safe. Par­ents were ask­ing for the two ac­cused boys to write their ex­ams in iso­la­tion.

He said one of the ac­cused had pre­vi­ously been ac­cused of the as­sault of other chil­dren.

Par­ents re­cently en­gaged in a protest, call­ing for the two boys to be re­moved from the school. The child who had al­legedly been raped, had not re­turned to school.

A con­cerned com­mu­nity mem­ber, Sa­batha Barnes, said upon hear­ing of the al­leged rape, he had ac­com­pa­nied the child’s grand­fa­ther to search for the two sus­pects.

They took both boys, who were liv­ing on the streets of Ko­mani and who were be­lieved to be gang mem­bers, to the po­lice sta­tion.

The Rep re­ported (“Gangs at Mlungisi schools” No­vem­ber 2) that pupils from KwaKo­mani Com­pre­hen­sive School and Lu­vuyo Lerumo High School were be­lieved to had been in­volved in the stab­bing of a Lu­vuyo Lerumo pupil in an al­leged gang-re­lated in­ci­dent re­cently.

In the story (“Schools shocker: Drugs, weapons seized from pupils in crime swoop”, Au­gust 31) po­lice and the safety and li­ai­son de­part­ment vis­ited Nk­wanca and John Noah high schools where they con­fis­cated many items, in­clud­ing knives, scis­sors, cig­a­rettes, drugs, con­doms, screwdriver, sharp­ened tooth­brushes and dagga seeds in­side lip balm con­tain­ers.

Chris Hani West dis­trict di­rec­tor Nkosi­nathi Godlo said gang­ster­ism was un­ac­cept­able in schools.

“At the be­gin­ning of the year we worked with the de­part­ment of safety and li­ai­son in Sada to fight these gangs that are en­ter­ing into schools.

“We as a de­part­ment have a drive to stop gang­ster­ism, but we can­not win it alone. We have a pro­gramme called safety in schools, but we need the com­mu­nity.”

Po­lice spokesper­son Cap­tain Namhla Mdle­leni said the po­lice held aware­ness cam­paigns at schools where co-op­er­a­tion be­tween all stake­hold­ers in­clud­ing the School Gov­ern­ing Body and Com­mu­nity Polic­ing Fo­rum (CPF) were needed.

She said op­er­a­tions were done in­clud­ing re­mov­ing drugs and dan­ger­ous weapons, but that Ko­mani ar­eas did not have a high rate of gang­ster­ism.

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