Cape Town - Teachers at a Lavender Hill school say regular gang shootings, a broken fence, snakes and motorists who crash their vehicles into the school grounds are putting pupils’ and their own lives at risk.
The teachers of Prince George Primary, which borders Prince George Drive, say their pleas for help have fallen on deaf ears, forcing them to start a silent protest campaign to draw attention to the plight.
Parents and teachers have been picketing along the M5 in the mornings before school for the past few days.
Principal Lameez Rabbaney said teachers “reached boiling point” after a shooting on Grindal Avenue about two weeks ago. She said because the shooting was so close to the school, the children had to be sent home.
“Teachers can’t teach if they are afraid that bullets are going to come through their window.”
Rabbaney said a large part of the school’s fence, bordering the Rondevlei Nature Reserve, had been damaged and removed and trespassers had been caught on the grounds more than once.
“What has also left us vulnerable is that we now have only one Bambanani guard for a school of more than 800 children. We previously had three.”
She said cars crashing into the fence was a big concern. “This has happened at least four times. Twice in the past four years, a car came to a standstill in the Grade R play area. Luckily it has always happened at night or over the weekend. We think the solution is steel barriers on the M5 side and speed humps.”
Rabbaney said the school’s latest headache was snakes. Four, including two cobras, have had to be removed from the grounds. “You have to pay to have a snake removed. The school can’t afford to do this.”
Western Cape Education Department spokesman Paddy Attwell said the school had informed the district office of shootings in the area and of motorists driving into the fence.
The district was considering a submission for fencing on the border with the Rondevlei Nature Reserve.
He said the school had asked the traffic department to place steel barriers along the M5 and speed humps and a raised pedestrian crossing to slow traffic.
Attwell said officials were aware of snakes entering the premises from Rondevlei and would discuss the matter with Cape Nature Conservation.