Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The Gauteng Education member of the executive council (MEC), Panyaza Lesufi on Wednesday said that the aim of the School Safety Summit was to find ways for all stakeholders to work together and come up with principles to stop violence at schools.

"Currently, we don't have common rules that bind us. All the issues being raised are issues that we want to bring to the public space in order for us to resolve them," Lesufi said at the School Safety Summit that was held at the Birchwood Hotel in Johannesburg.

The Gauteng Provincial Government held the summit following the recent incidents of gangsterism, bullying, break-ins at schools as well as violence against learners and educators within the schooling environment.

Lesufi said corporal punishment had the risk of stirring up more violence. Earlier the Deputy Police Minister, Bongani Mkongi, said corporal punishment had to be reconsidered.

"We have to come with a mechanism of coming up with alternative punishment for learners. We can't have learners and teachers fighting and we cant encourage violence on the school premises."

The summit was held under the theme “Safer school to support learning and teaching” and discussed safety challenges and develop a common approach in tackling them in enhancing conducive learning at schools.

Stakeholders who spoke at the summit said parents and teachers needed to take a stand against gangsterism at school.

"Most of these kids don't have present parents, you not sure if they have done their homework or went to school and when they are arrested you say they are being wrongfully accused," said parent representative Collin Khumalo.

Khumalo, who had been in prison before, said children were recruited by ex-offenders.

"We have to try and educate children, we must find a way to prevent parolees to not recruit children. We must tell them of the effects of these things."

He added that teachers needed to be trained about how to prevent and identify gangs in their schools.

"Most of these guys come out of prison without being rehabilitated."

The event was attended by about 3000 stakeholders including government officials, school principals, school governing body members, organised labour, learner representative council members and student movements.

African News Agency/ANA