Metro police and SAPS officers stand guard near a school in Manenberg as pupils walk by. Photo: Henk Kruger

Cape Town - While Manenberg teachers and pupils returned to their schools on Monday under a strong law enforcement presence, nearly half the pupils at a Mitchells Plain school were absent after shootings in the area.

Bronagh Casey, spokeswoman for Education MEC Donald Grant, said half of the pupils at Alpine Primary in Beacon Valley were either absent or fetched early by their parents following “gang shootings” in the area.

“It is reported that last night (Sunday) and this morning (Monday) there were gang-related shootings in the area.”

The school was not closed.

“Alpine Primary has been given emergency security and we have asked the SAPS to increase police visibility around the school.”

The situation would be closely monitored.

Casey said teaching had resumed in Manenberg on Modnay with between 80 and 95 percent of pupils attending school.

Schools in the area were temporarily closed last week after teachers reported for duty at the education district office, instead of their schools, due to concerns about their safety.

“The City of Cape Town and SAPS have deployed additional law enforcement staff in Manenberg which will be divided between schools during school hours and along the access routes both before and after school, ensuring a safety corridor.”

Thurston Brown, principal of Manenberg High, said most of pupils were back in class on Monday.

“We have three metro cops at the school and the police patrols have been intensified. Teachers are feeling relatively safer. There is an uneasy calm.”

The violence had affected the matric study programme, he said.

“There has been gang violence since the beginning of the term. We could only have one afternoon session (with matrics).”

Brown said despite the setback pupils remained motivated and everything possible, including Saturday classes, would be done to assist matric pupils.

He said the school had set a 70 percent matric pass rate target and was still hopeful that it would be achieved.

Shafiek Abrahams, principal of Phoenix High, said everyone had returned to school and there was a “climate of safety”.

“It is a bit more relaxed.”


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Cape Argus