Gang violence at schools needs to be addressed urgently

Issued by Yusuf Cassim, MPL
Shadow MEC for Education

The number of gang related incidents of violence at schools across the Eastern Cape is a major concern, with three fatalities on school premises already recorded.

In addition to this, 79 learners and 49 teachers have been injured due to gang related violence in schools.

This is unacceptable! No child or teacher should fear being assaulted at school. No child should fear losing their life while seeking an education!

These statistics were made available by Education MEC, Fundile Gade, in response to a parliamentary question.

See: IQP 2 qq 31

When asked about what the department has put in place to ensure the safety of the learners in schools in the Eastern Cape, his response was vague, merely stating “Counselling of learners by Exceptional Student Support Services (ESSS) and social workers, National School Safety Framework (NSSF) training and awareness campaign by the Department of Education, South African Police Service (SAPS), and the Department of Social Development (DSD).”

Merely talking about life-threatening issues is not enough.

Safety at Eastern Cape schools is not a new concern and the existing measures are clearly not working.

When certain high-risk schools have asked for security guards, many were told that there is no budget.

We need to be taking more pro-active steps to safeguard our schools, especially those in vulnerable areas.

The DA believes that every child must be able to learn in an environment which is safe and where he or she is not exposed to violence, abuse or drugs.

The DA will continue to fight for the right to our learners and teachers’ safety.