Manenberg residents flee for cover after gunshots rang out during a gang war. Picture: Leon Knipe
Cape Town - Western Cape police have confirmed that schools in Manenberg have cancelled all excursions due to gang violence.

Previously schools used police escorts for outings.

This after six murders and 11 attempted murders in just three weeks in the area.

The youngest victim is an eight-year-old girl who was shot in both legs in Joyce Court two weeks ago.

Last week, 12-year-old Clayton Alfreds, a Grade 5 pupil at Rio Grande Primary, was shot in the back in Peta Court.

Police spokesperson, Lieut-Col André Traut, said while excursions have been cancelled due to gang violence, programmes have been set up at school to keep children occupied and entertained.

“It is no secret that gang violence is prevalent in the Manenberg policing precinct that requires a frequent policing approach to curb the scourge,” he said.

“Although the gangs are mostly in conflict with each other, it does occur that innocent community members fall victim to gang-related activities."

“Currently the schools in Manenberg do not entertain school excursions, they have however implemented other programmes within the school environment."

“Manenberg SAPS have regular school safety-based awareness programmes and various other initiatives to ensure children are educated on personal safety and other contributing factors that occur in their living environment and circumstances."

“Ultimately being exposed to violence on a continuous basis will have a negative influence on some children.”

Jessica Shelver, the spokesperson for Education MEC Debbie Shäfer, says excursions are still taking place, although they are rare.

“Our Circuit Manager from the area has indicated that all the excursions that have been approved by her have taken place. The Circuit Manager has, however, also indicated that she receives very few applications for school excursions from Manenberg schools.”

A grandmother, 61, who has two grandchildren at Rio Grande and Red River primary schools, confirmed two excursions to the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town took place in August.

Manenberg Station Commander, Brigadier Enolium Joseph, says police visibility has been increased in the area to keep school and crèche children safe.

“The extent of gang violence has disrupted people’s lives and the ability for young people to learn,” he says.

“Police have deployed additional forces to police the area which include external forces from the City of Cape Town."

“Policing the area includes dealing with creating awareness of the dangers of gangs and our target groups are toddlers at crèche, primary school and high school learners, as well as parents and grandparents."

“We, the police, have introduced sporting activities at the school.”