Teacher unions oppose safety plan

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Teacher unions in KwaZulu-Natal have poured cold water on the plans by the province's education department to beef up security at high-risk schools.

The initiative to improve security at the schools follows the death of four teachers in the past two months in the province.

The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) and the National Allied Teachers Union (Natu) said while they welcomed the initiative, it "was not enough".

This week education MEC Ina Cronje said schools would be fenced and 12 district schools would be linked to the nearest police station and police would conduct regular searches at the schools.

She said the department would also explore employing security guards at high-risk schools in the region.

Though the department of education does not have a budget for security at schools, Cronje said she was looking at deploying security guards at the schools that need them most.

Sadtu spokesman Sipho Nkosi said they were concerned about what happened at schools on days when the police did not conduct the searches.

"Though we think the MEC's ideas to fight crime at schools are brilliant, we still believe there is a need for every school to have a metal detector and a trained security guard," he said.

Natu's spokesman Allen Thompson called on the office of premier S'bu Ndebele to assist the department of education to restore safety at the province's schools.

"This is not the burden of the education department alone. We want other departments to be involved," said Thompson.

"Where is the R45million budgeted by the national department of safety and security allocated for safety and security at schools?"

University of KwaZulu-Natal's SRC president Bukisile Ngcobo said every initiative to fight crime should be appreciated.

"We applaud Cronje's effort. She is trying her best to restore safety with the budget available," said Ngcobo.

"She cannot fence, deploy security guards and install metal detectors at the same time. Though we would love all these things to happen."

Last month a teacher died after he was stabbed by a pupil. Another teacher Thulani Ntshangase was shot dead in front of pupils.

In March, two teachers from Hlokohloko Primary School, were killed and their bodies dumped in nearby bushes.