'Please help us to control your kids'

Xolile Bhengu and Sapa

Xolile Bhengu and Sapa

The Gauteng MEC for education, Angie Motshekga, made a passionate plea to parents: "Please help us to control your kids."

Motshekga said that their research showed that some "parents were raising spoilt brats and arrogant prima donnas that our schools cannot handle".

Motshekga was speaking at the national Education Department's school safety seminar at Irene near Pretoria on Tuesday.

She said investigations into problems faced by schools showed that dysfunctional parenting was a contributing factor.

Motshekga said many parents hope schools would "fix" their problematic children.

"Teachers are faced with the problem of managing children whose parents give them things they didn't have," she said.

"We cannot emphasise enough that every child belongs to a community and becomes the responsibility of everyone.

"Parents must take responsibility for their children's behaviour as well," she said.

Motshekga said parents need to listen to their children for the early signs of problems at school.

She made an example of slain Forest High School pupil Simon Mbhele, 19, who had told his mother that he had enemies and wanted to leave the school.

Motshekga said too many parents gave their children money to compensate for neglecting parental duties.

Education Minister Naledi Pandor was adamant that violence, abuse and drug use should not be allowed to become the norm in schools.

She said many people had written to her office about the battle for a future generation.

"The writers and callers tell me we are in a tussle for the soul of the nation. I agree with them.

"If we allow violence, abuse and drugs to become an accepted part of schooling, our future is lost," she said.

"These are sacred spaces for our children and that's how schools should be. We are faced with a multifaceted problem and we cannot just blame Pandor."

She said all schools should be fenced and security staff and counsellors should be contracted to protect teachers and pupils.

Shebeens located next to schools was also something the department would look at.