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Schools battle with safety, drug abuse

Drug abuse and security are some of the challenges the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education found some Western Cape schools grappled with. Picture: ANA Archives

Drug abuse and security are some of the challenges the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education found some Western Cape schools grappled with. Picture: ANA Archives

Published Jun 17, 2022

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Cape Town - Drug abuse, safety and security are some of the challenges the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education found some Western Cape schools grappled with.

The committee conducted an oversight visit at 11 schools across the province earlier this year. A report on infrastructure, safety and correct quintiles was compiled.

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Ingcinga Zethu Secondary School in the rural community of Ceres was one of the schools faced with safety issues.

“The prevalence of drugs in the nearby informal settlement negatively impacts on learner’s behaviour at school. Vandalism and theft are common for there is no security, the fencing is broken. Safety and security is an issue, due to lack of security at the school. The under performance of the school in NSC is also affected by vandalism, where there is no opportunity for jobs, learners resort to vandalism,” the report said.

Siyazaka School in Philippi is another school struggling with incidents of burglary.

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On Tuesday the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) management briefed the Committee about the status of implementing recommendations.

“The recommendation was to ensure that poor infrastructure and proper fencing receives attention within 90 days of adoption of the report. Ensure that the school is supported to deal with drug abuse, safety and security within 30 days after adoption of this report,” said WCED's chief director of districts, Alan Meyer.

According to Meyer the district will monitor the schools budget allocation to ensure infrastructure issues are addressed.

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“The Safe Schools staff is arranging interventions at the school. This has been done previously and will continue. The community policing forum will be engaged to assist the school in this area,” he said.

Meyer said regarding Siyazaka School the school was in partnership with police and there were visible patrols in the morning and when pupils leave.

“Neighbourhood watch is visible, and the School Safety Officer is part of the Community Safety Forum. The district sports coordinator has engaged with the school to support them with the introduction of cricket, baseball, chess, netball and soccer,” he said.

ACDP MP Marie Sukers also raised the importance of sport in schools.

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“We have also received complaints from some schools in the Helderberg area and calls for interventions. Gang violence spills to the schools and there are no more sporting activities. The heritage and history is being tarnished because some brilliant athletes came from some of these schools,” said Sukers.

WCED’s Deputy Director-General Archie Lewis said about R34 million deals with safety challenges at schools however the budget was insufficient especially when it came to the call for security personnel.

“We cannot provide security guards at all schools,” he said

Cape Times

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