Panyaza Lesufi
Johannesburg - Learners who want to be criminals will be treated as such. It was the stern warning by Gauteng MEC of Education Panyaza Lesufi at a consultative meeting with stakeholders at Nasrec in Joburg about the issue of violence in schools.

“To treat you like a criminal is very simple, we will open the doors and the gates of our schools and say, ‘please leave us’,” Lesufi said.

It comes after a 19-year-old learner from Forest High School in Turffontein, Joburg, was granted R5 000 bail after he was arrested for allegedly stabbing and killing a fellow learner and wounding two others.

Lesufi said learners who attacked their peers and, or, teachers should no longer be treated as learners and must be dealt with decisively.

“It’s very simple, we will open the doors and gates of our schools and say (leave us alone, go find your peers outside and we know that your peers end up in orange overalls),” Lesufi said.

Meanwhile, the national Department of Education has appealed to stakeholders to stop violence at schools across the country. The statement follows a number of violent incidents at schools across the country in recent weeks.

The department said it was vital for learners to understand that the reason for being in school was to get an academic education, and called on them to refrain from violent and criminal activities.

The department slammed calls for teachers to be armed. The calls were made by the Educators Union of SA.

Elijah Mhlanga, spokesperson for the Department of Basic Education, said school was not a war zone, it was supposed to be a peaceful environment.

“In almost every instance where someone has been stabbed, the aggressor knows the victim or there was an unresolved issue. It’s people who know each other. Don’t be violent, talk.

“This thing of saying people must go to school with guns is completely reckless and dangerous,” he said. 

Saturday Star