Police have refused to detail their plans to keep matric pupils safe in areas that have seen a flare-up in gang violence, including Manenberg and Hanover Park.
They, however, have assured that communities affected by gang violence have “sufficient” deployment.
Asked for details of these deployments, police spokesperson FC van Wyk would only say: “Police will put sufficient deployments in hot spot areas, however, we cannot divulge our operational plan in the media.”
Parents for Equal Education SA founder Vanessa le Roux appealed to law enforcement to assist SAPS in visible policing, and patrols.
“Law enforcement officers should also assist schools which are flagged as schools at risk, by doing proper searches to avoid dangerous weapons entering school grounds.
“At night these students must study, and can we begin to imagine the trauma these children are faced with not knowing whether they would make it to school safely? Much more needs to be done, and all relevant stakeholders should be involved,” said Le Roux.
The return of load shedding presented another challenge for the thousands of pupils who are now having to study in the dark.
While matric exams have been largely unaffected by reinstated load shedding schedules following nine days of suspended power cuts, more should have been done to mitigate the effects on pupils writing their final exams, said Le Roux.
She said an effort similar to that implemented for the duration of the Rugby World Cup should have been made.
“At this point we need to ask, why haven’t they made the same provision for these important exams like they did for the World Cup? It is possible, like we have seen now during the World Cup, to be free of load shedding. They should put the same effort in making it easier for matrics as well,” said Le Roux.
The Western Cape Education Department has given assurance that they have clear protocols in place in cases of either planned or unscheduled outages.
Education MEC David Maynier, said: “Load shedding is a risk for our practical exams, which rely on computer and internet access. However, we have clear protocols in place for both scheduled load shedding and unplanned power failures, so candidates are still able to complete their exam, as was the case last year.
“Thankfully, we did not have load shedding during the practical exams last week so they proceeded smoothly.
“Load shedding is less of an issue for the written exams, as venues are required to have natural light, and if there are any problems, learners can be shifted to another venue to write.
“Our districts monitor the situation closely and deal with any problems that arise on a case-by-case basis.
“The biggest impact at the moment is on our matrics’ ability to study in the evenings.
“The written exams (were) off to a good start (yesterday) in the Western Cape, with nearly 67 000 candidates writing English Paper 1 during the morning session without incident,” said Maynier.