Education activist Hendrick Makaneta has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to deploy police and soldiers to schools amid sporadic violence that has negatively affected the terrain of basic education and in some instances led to loss of life.
This comes after three armed thugs gained access to Dassenhoek High School in Pinetown where four pupils were allegedly stabbed by the robbers on Wednesday. The robbers allegedly broke the fence to gain access into the school premises.
“We received reports that four learners were attacked and robbed of their valuables by armed men who made off with money and cellphones at Dassenhoek High School. The stabbing of the learners is a cause for great concern,” said Makaneta in a statement.
The robbers, who were visibly armed with a gun and knives, invaded the school and demanded valuables from teachers and pupils. It was revealed that the pupils stood their ground and refused to be bullied by the robbers, but were eventually overpowered, terrorised and stabbed.
The perpetrators reportedly made off with cellphones, money, and other valuables. The injured pupils have been admitted to the hospital.
The MEC for Education in KZN, Kwazi Mshengu, visited the school on Wednesday. He said he and his colleagues were devastated by the incident however, they were glad that there was no loss of life.
KwaZula Natal Education MEC visited the Dassenhoek High School in Pinetown where four pupils were allegedly stabbed by the robbers. Video: KZN Education dept.
“We are glad that there was no loss of life because under those circumstances it was possible that some of you (teachers) as well as the learners could have lost their lives, but we are concerned about how our communities have broken apart to an extent that things we experience in our schools are actually things that we should be fighting and winning through our communities,” he said.
Mshengu raised concerns about the challenges of violence that teachers face in schools nowadays.
“It is becoming unfortunate and a risk to be a teacher, because of the challenges we have in our communities. I was told that two of the culprits are former learners of the school who are still not apprehended, but they are known. Community members know them and they know where they reside, but they don’t give information to the police as to where they are. We need to win this battle right from our communities,” said Mshengu
Reports stated that one suspect had been arrested after a criminal case was opened at KwaNdengezi police station.
Meanwhile, a high school deputy principal in Gauteng was shot dead on Friday last week. According to reports, the Phomolong Secondary School vice-principal was gunned down while driving out of the school gate.
Makenete commended MEC Mshengu for paying visit to the KZN school to provide support and counselling to the teachers and pupils.
“Government cannot fold its arms and watch as our learners and teachers continue to be subjected to unsafe school environments. It is for this reason that we call on President Ramaphosa to deploy the army along with police to be visible in each school in order to put an end to violence and keep teachers and learners safe,” concluded Makeneta.