Officials point fingers at each other

Xolile Bhengu

Xolile Bhengu

Safety at schools has become a political hot potato.

Law enforcers are blaming schools for keeping them away from their premises, and the schools in turn complain that there is not enough police presence on their properties.

This emerged at the school safety colloquium, which was hosted by the Department of Education in Pretoria on Tuesday to provide a platform for stakeholders to raise their concerns.

Instead, the government departments pointed fingers at each other on who was responsible for the current state of crime at schools.

Deputy Minister of Safety and Security Susan Shabangu tried to explain why police were unable to help schools.

She said part of the problem was lack of relationships between schools and individual police officers.

Shabangu said her department wanted to see schools partnering with police stations to be able to discuss crime not only in schools, but within the community.

"We have found that there is a generally hostile relationship between schools and the police. Police are not invited at some schools to help in the development of regulations," Shabangu said.

"This would help the police to profile areas, and they would be able to warn schools, who in turn could warn the children."