Safety plans for learners
'Gangsters will not be allowed to stop pupils from accessing better facilities'
WESTERN Cape MEC for education Donald Grant says he is in discussion with community safety MEC Dan Plato and transport and public works MEC Robin Carlisle to establish a safety and security plan for pupils and teachers who are to be relocated to the gang-infested Cape Flats next year.
This comes after Grant had announced that 20 schools would be closed at the end of the year, citing old school buildings, poor performance and dwindling pupil numbers.
Western Cape education department spokeswoman Bronagh Casey confirmed that Grant had received messages of concern from community members about fears of lawlessness in the Cape Flats.
"Grant has raised these safety concerns and, together with Plato and Carlisle, is determining what can be done to address these fears," she said.
"Meetings will be arranged to discuss the matter further and the (MECs) are expected to plot a plan to ensure the safety of all pupils and teachers."
Regarding the closing of schools, Plato said gangsters would not be allowed to stop pupils from accessing better facilities.
"We will work with the affected communities to ensure the safety of our learners. We already have 706 school safety volunteers working at 196 high-risk schools in Cape Town."
In line with this commitment, a pilot project has been launched that is expected to see school resource officers being introduced into six of those schools in 2013.
"A school resource officer is a sworn metro police officer assigned to a school on a long-term basis to identify and address the underlying problems which may lead to disorder, ill-discipline and crime," Plato said, adding that the officers would implement strategies to overcome these problems to make schools - and their surrounding areas - safer.
Meanwhile, the ANC in Western Cape is expected to proceed with its plan to mount a court challenge to Grant's decision to close the 20 schools.