Khayelitsha residents,teachers and schoolchildren marched to the Khayelitsha Magistrate's Court. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane /African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – Demanding around-the-clock security be deployed to all schools in Khayelitsha, frustrated parents and teachers yesterday shut down several schools and marched in the streets.

They handed over a memorandum of demands at the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court, calling for 24-hour security and that suspects of crimes targeting schools be swiftly dealt with by the justice system.

Their action follows a spate of violent crimes at many schools in the suburb, including a robbery involving a teacher.

Njongo Primary School’s governing body chairperson, Philiswa Faba, said nearly all schools had at least once fallen prey to criminals who either vandalised the school or robbed pupils and teachers of their belongings.

“The pain, torture and fear that teachers and pupils experience every day while at school made us embark on this march. 

"It’s been three years now engaging with the education department regarding the security issue at our schools, but nothing has been done.

"We will shut down the schools until our demands are met,” Faba said.

The march was organised by Khayelitsha Education Forum and the Community Police Forum.

Forum chairperson Nomawethu Mosana said they would continue with the action until their demands were met.

“It is inhumane of the department not to bother attending to the matter. Every day, a teacher is robbed or stabbed, and now Khayelitsha schools have a high dropout rate because of thugs,” Mosana said.

The portfolio committee on basic education said they were informed that the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) had promised to deploy security guards at all Khayelitsha schools after devastating criminal attacks.

Education MEC Debbie Schäfer’s spokesperson Kerry Mauchline said they were monitoring the situation.

“Schools are trying to stay open as far as possible, so it is not a total shutdown We are liaising with SAPS and law enforcement on the matter. District officials are in contact with schools and assisting,” Mauchline said.

SA Democratic Teachers’ Union provincial chairperson Jonovan Rustin said: “As Sadtu, we support the Khayelitsha community demanding security at schools.

“Last year the WCED promised to provide for security in Khayelitsha schools. The schools can’t be having constant robberies and shootings; the department should provide security at Khayelitsha schools,” said Rustin.

Cape Times