Lack of action by Education Department placing learners lives at risk

The Democratic Alliance is outraged that for four years the Department of Education has not taken any action to ensure the safety of learners at Strelitzia Primary School in Port Elizabeth’s Northern Areas.

This week the school was shut down by the school principal, Clifton Jantjies, and parents, over concerns of the children’s safety, following a shooting earlier the week and the lack of fencing at the school.

The DA in the Eastern Cape Legislature has been driving the issue of school safety with regards to gang related violence and no fencing or security at schools in high risk areas.

In fact my colleague, Edmund van Vuuren MPL, wrote to the Chief Director of Infrastructure at the Department of Education last year, requesting an update on this very matter, as Strelitzia was identified as part of the project to provide fencing at schools in 2015.

See letter attached.

The matter was also brought up in multiple portfolio committee meetings and with the late MEC, Mandla Makupula. To this day, no steps have been implemented in order to ensure that the school, and school grounds, are safe for the learners.

I have submitted questions to the new MEC, Fundile Gade, to provide answers on what the department plans on doing in order to keep our children safe in high risk, gangster-ridden communities.

Our children are left exposed to gangsters entering the school grounds and stealing from the children; people of the community using the school grounds as a walk through; and most horrifically, flying bullets.

After speaking to the principal, the needs of the school are clear; for the school to be provided with a high fence, in order to keep criminals off the schools ground and to prevent shooting on school premises.

The DA demands that the Department of Education take immediate action in order to ensure the safety of the learners at Strelitzia Primary School.