Johannesburg - The South Africa Police Services (SAPS) has revealed the fourth-quarter crime statistics, painting a grim picture of criminality towering over South African schools.
Multiple fatal reports indicate that schools are unsafe, and there is an urgent need to review the current school’s safety strategy.
It is reported that between January and March this year, eight murders, 14 attempted murders, and 84 rapes occurred on the premises of educational facilities, including daycare centres and universities.
There have been 238 incidents of assault and grievous bodily harm (GBH).
Based on these alarming statistics, the DA said that little has been achieved in keeping learners safe from violent crimes.
Schools used to be safe havens for learners but are now hubs of crime.
‘’Given the high rate of gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) in South Africa (969 women and 245 children were murdered in the fourth quarter), education facilities should be safe havens for learners and staff, not crime scenes,’’ said the party.
‘’The DA will submit parliamentary questions to determine how many of these heinous incidents involved learners, teachers, and staff, as well as the measures the Department of Basic Education has put in place to ensure the safety and security of all individuals on school premises.’’
In March, the DA proposed that MEC Chiloane engage the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety and Security, Faith Mazibuko, to ensure that school safety is prioritised and these incidents are investigated to ensure justice for the victims and their families.
‘’The DA demands that the department review the Gauteng schools' safety strategy and ensure that all stakeholders are involved in formulating new ways to curb violence in our schools. Education is a societal issue, and communities must be involved to ensure our schools are safe places for learners and teachers.’’
The party said the conviction rate is low and concerning as it shows that the justice system is failing teachers and learners and further calls for an urgent need for thorough investigations.
In the last five years, there have been 94 incidents of violent crimes in Gauteng schools.
Earlier this year, the National Teachers' Union (NATU) also expressed concerns about school-based violence.
‘’NATU condemns violence in schools with the contempt it deserves. Bullying and onslaught have no space in our schools. We want to reaffirm our call for the creation of safe schools and plead with the Department of Education to hire competent security staff for the safety of our teachers and learners. The call for professionalism and maturity among the teachers cannot be overemphasised. We expect them to be exemplary and must desist from involving themselves in any conduct endangering their lives and those of children entrusted in their care,’’ said NATU president, Sibusiso Malinga.