Patrollers to help schools in danger
GAUTENG "high risk" shools have been provided with patrollers to safeguard pupils and teachers.
About 1500 schools that could not provide security on their own were identified last year after consultation with stakeholders.
The School Patroller Programme, which is aimed at giving teachers more time to teach without worrying about their safety and that of the pupils, was launched yesterday at Dikgabane Primary School in Tshiawelo, Soweto.
"We have discovered that we are no longer safe, even in groups," MEC for community safety Nonhlanhla Mazibuko said.
Mazibuko was referring to an incident in which a 17-year-old Florida High School pupil, Louise de Waal, was kidnapped at gunpoint while walking to school with a friend in Roodepoort last week.
She said police from nearby police stations would help patrollers with manpower and other resources.
"We decided that instead of spending millions of rand on alarm systems, we should have men and women from the community patrolling near the school," she said.
Mazibuko said about 1,500 trained patrollers started working last month. They provide security at under-performing, no-fee and high-risk schools. Each school had a maximum of six patrollers.
Patrollers would search cars and visitors entering the school premises, and from time to time search pupils for weapons, drugs and other illegal items.
The patrollers would be divided into two groups, with each group working 15 days a month and receiving a monthly salary of R1,500.
MEC for education Barbara Creecy said all patrollers had been screened by the department of community safety.
"We have a situation in which teachers are under threat and learners don't feel safe because of robberies. As a result of this programme, our learners and employees should feel safe arriving and leaving our schools," she said.
Creecy said patrollers would be supplied with two-way radios, metal detectors and other equipment that would be connected to a police vehicle in case they needed back up.
Patroller Joseph Mogotsi, 53, said: "The R1500 salary is a bonus. I started working as a patroller in 2000. I was not paid but I did it for the safety of my people".