Teachers and pupils fear for their safety at Vukanibantu Primary School

Issued by Nqaba Bhanga, MPL
DA Leader in the Eastern Cape Legislature

Teachers and learners at the Vukanibantu Primary School in Motherwell are living in fear, as criminals can access the school whenever they want because there is no adequate fencing around the property.

During an oversight inspection at the school today, I learnt that teachers and pupils were held at gunpoint by heartless thugs in November last year. The thugs robbed them of their belongings before fleeing the premises before the police arrived.

The school is also an easy target for repeated acts of vandalism and theft of infrastructure such as cables and copper piping. Burglar bars and windows have been smashed, and even the CCTV cameras installed to deter these criminals have been stolen.

This has significant cost implications for the school, which is expected to repeatedly repair damage and replace stolen items, depleting limited funds that could be better spent on providing improvements to the school to better educate the children in attendance.

To the shock and horror of the school, a decomposing corpse was found in the school fields.

There have been repeated attempts by the school to secure fencing from the Department of Education, but their cries have fallen on deaf ears.

Even the high school next to Vukanibantu Primary has received fencing. Yet, the Department has failed to protect these young pupils.

In pure frustration, the teachers have threatened to institute a “pens down campaign”, as they argue that they cannot focus on providing quality education while their lives and the lives of their pupils remain at risk.

The Department should hang their heads in shame. A school is supposed to be a haven for children to learn. It is not supposed to be a war zone.

I have written to the MEC of Education to prioritise the safety of the pupils and teachers at Vukanibantu Primary School by providing fencing and to address the other safety concerns at the school.

The MEC of Education must ensure that the children of this province have schools that are safe spaces for learning and development. He cannot let criminals rob our children of this right.