Policing forum takes steps to end rise in gang violence at schools in Grabouw
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Cape Town - The Grabouw Community Policing Forum says it has seen a sudden influx of gangs into primary and high schools in the area. This follows the recent stabbing incident of a primary school learner.
It is also after the Grabouw Youth Patrollers, who search schoolchildren for dangerous weapons, confiscated 95 weapons ranging from pairs of scissors, pangas, knives and screwdrivers on Tuesday and Wednesday.
CPF chairperson David Williams said in 2019 two primary school learners died after they were stabbed, but community leadership managed to stop gangsterism in schools and throughout 2020 no incidents were reported.
However, he said since March they have seen an increase in gang activities at schools.
“This affects schooling and learning as you have children who are afraid to attend school because they are either bullied or stabbed after school and whatever happens on the streets is always taken to the school.
“This sudden increase, we believe, was caused by the influx of kids coming from other towns to study in the area, and we also have an informal settlement that has been growing with different gangs in it. Our kids don’t need to go to school carrying dangerous weapons,” he said.
Williams said a multi-stakeholder meeting was held on Tuesday at which a 7-point prevention plan was discussed and implemented immediately.
This includes the deployment of Grabouw Youth Patroller officers to high-risk schools, facilitation of a “No to School Gangs” campaign, the establishment of youth recreational activities and the establishment of a Community Safety Forum to assist patrollers and the police.
Western Cape Education Department (WCED) spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said school safety was not just a WCED issue, but a whole community/society issue. Hammond said it was important and encouraging that various sectors of society unite to address issues of school safety, violence and gangsterism.
“The WCED implements various strategies to address school violence and safety. Unfortunately, many of the safety risks are a result of community and gang violence which affects the safety environment of our schools. Addressing these issues goes beyond our mandate and control,” she said.
Hammond said the department was reliant on other governmental departments and law enforcement agencies such as the SAPS, Department of Justice and City of Cape Town law enforcement.