WATCH: Khayelitsha Shutdown has community rally together demanding safer schools
The shutdown was organised by the Khayelitsha education and development forums after their teachers were targeted by criminals. They said the WCED was doing nothing about their situation.
The forums said the community, teachers and the unions would picket at various points: Site C (Caltex garage), Site B (Masiyile High School), Khayelitsha (Engine garage), Harare police station and in Makhaza at the Desmond Tutu Hall.
Education Forum chairperson Nomawethu Mosana said it was disgusted that the pupils and teachers were operating in an unsecured environment yet were expected to deliver good-quality education.
Khayelitsha Development Forum chairperson Ndithini Tyhido said the shutdown was a result of the disjointed nature of interventions by the WCED.
“Had the department responded to the call by Khayelitsha school principals for the deployment of security officers at every school, the teachers would have been saved from the bullet wounds and the robbery in their schools,” Tyhido said.
Khalid Sayed, ANC deputy chief whip in the legislature and spokesperson on education, said the party was concerned about the safety crisis in the province which had seen a number of teachers and pupils fall prey to “bloodthirsty gangsters”.
Sayed said the safety of teachers was compromised by issues such as broken fences which Education MEC Debbie Schäfer refused to address, saying it was a wasteful expenditure as gangs would break them again.
Schäfer said the group had demanded that the WCED provide five armed security guards at each school in Khayelitsha 24 hours a day - “a demand that is impossible for the WCED to meet”.
Schäfer said preventing pupils from attending school was never an acceptable way to resolve challenges “causing learners to lose out on valuable teaching time directly infringes on their right to a basic education”.
She said school safety was a core priority and the WCED was doing everything in its power to ensure learners and teachers were safe at school.
Parliamentary basic education portfolio committee chairperson Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba said she had taken the matter up with the national Basic Education Department to ask for assistance in liaising with the provincial Education Department.@SISONKE_MD