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JOHANNESBURG - The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) on Tuesday announced that it had spent more than R34 million on its Safe Schools programme across the province.

"This funding is being used to provide and reinforce targeted security infrastructure in schools, to support a safe and secure learning environment for our learners," said Basil Kivedo, the Democratic Alliance (DA) Western Cape spokesperson on Education.

"The DA in the Western Cape is pleased that the WCED remains committed to ensuring that schools remain safe places, conducive to learning, however, we urgently call on the SANDF [SA National Defence Force] in a supportive capacity to assist the SAPS [SA Police Service] and all relevant stakeholders to help ensure the safety of our teachers and learners at all costs," said Kivedo, who is also chairperson of the standing committee on education in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament.

In a statement, Kivedo said he was aware the education department was also addressing complex social issues that gave rise to young people getting involved in gangs, drugs, and other forms of substance abuse. 

"We are, however, under no illusion that the fight against gangsterism and drugs and other forms substance abuse is hindered by our severely under-resourced police stations and inefficient justice system," said Kivedo.

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African News Agency (ANA)