Johannesburg – Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has warned that gang-related incidents at schools across the country have been reported.
She said her department has received news of 411 gang-related incidents.
She said a number of measures had been taken to clamp down on gangsterism in schools. This includes a crackdown on drug dealing, truancy, bullying and theft.
Motshekga said one of the factors leading to these incidents were social issues that spill over into the schools. Gangsterism was part of this.
“Bullying and physical fights committed by gangsters in schools are influenced by social issues, originating in the communities and spilling over to the schools. In addition, gangsterism in some schools is also influenced by faction fighting between learners from different villages.
“This form of gangsterism is common in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. Furthermore, gangsterism is closely linked to drug peddling in schools,” said Motshekga.
She said they were putting all measures in place to contain the problem and have roped in a number of roleplayers.
"The department has trained schools on the implementation of the National School Safety Framework (NSSF), which is a guiding framework in addressing all forms of violent incidents in schools, including gangsterism," she said.
Motshekga was responding to a written parliamentary question from the IFP's Siphosethu Ngcobo regarding reports on gang-related activities in schools, theft and the rise of violence.
Motshekga said the national school safety framework empowered schools to identify and manage all safety threats in schools.
"The NSSF also empowers schools to develop incident reporting mechanisms; establish collaborations with external stakeholders, such as the South African Police Service (SAPS), the Department of Social Development, and civil society organisations; as well as developing school safety plans and policies to respond to safety challenges," she said.
On the department's response to such incidents she said they were working closely with the SAPS on this issue.
"The protocol has enabled all schools to be linked to their local police stations. SAPS conducts searches and seizures in schools, and conducts crime awareness campaigns in schools. Regularly, schools work with SAPS, local community police forums and social workers to address gangsterism-related issues," she said.
Motshekga said operations have been conducted in schools where illegal drugs and weapons were seized. This was part of the anti-gangsterism campaign.