School searches under way as Gauteng clamps down on crime, bullying

29 January 2020 - 08:55 By timeslive
Gauteng is implementing various initiatives to improve school safety in 2020.
Gauteng is implementing various initiatives to improve school safety in 2020.
Image: 123RF/serezniy

The Gauteng department of community safety says it has embarked on an integrated school-safety intervention plan to rid schools of criminal elements to create a conducive learning and teaching environment.

Gauteng schools have recently been marred by incidents of bullying, gangsterism, substance abuse and murder, which sparked outrage in communities.

The department said its intervention plan puts special focus on 30 problematic schools identified by education officials.

The department has visited Freedom Park Secondary School, Oos Rand Secondary School, Lefa-ifa Secondary School in Kwa-Thema, Norkem Park High School, Geluksdal Secondary School and Langaville Secondary in Tsakane.

On Monday, police visited Reiger Park and Oos Rand Secondary schools in Ekurhuleni to conduct searches. Dagga, illegal cigarettes and dangerous weapons, such as scissors and knives, were confiscated from pupils.

Last week, police conducting a raid at Lifa-ifa Secondary School arrested a 51-year-old who was allegedly selling dagga to pupils.

The head of department for community safety, Yoliswa Makhasi, called on all stakeholders to intensify school safety in the province. “The time has come to enhance classroom teaching and learner performance. All these can be made possible only when discipline is instilled among our learners and educators are respected at all costs,” she said.

“We are intensifying our efforts to rid our schools of incidents of violence, such as bullying, physical violence and sexual abuse. The random, unannounced visits to schools is one such way of dealing with this scourge.”

Other initiatives include improved liaison with law-enforcement agencies, including local police stations and community policing forums. Safety talks are also being led by the departmental safety promotions unit and gender-based violence education led by the Ikhaya Lethemba unit. 

“Our schooling environment has become a haven for learners to commit criminal acts and such incidents must be discouraged and never be allowed to continue unchallenged,” said Makhasi.

“It is essential that we mobilise all sectors of society to be active participants in the fight against crime and urge them to take part in various safety programmes available in their respective communities.”