tight security for schools

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

The KwaZulu-Natal education department yesterday said it would immediately hire 3000 security guards for schools.

Parents and teacher unions slammed the department last week after a female teacher was shot and killed at Isidingo Primary School in Umlazi while the morning assembly was taking place.

Last year, a teacher was stabbed inside a classroom and another was shot dead in a classroom.

Provincial head of the education department Cassius Lubisi said his department was committed to making all schools safe.

He said the move to deploy security guards at schools will be rolled out over the next three months, and had been allocated for in the 2008-2009 budget.

He said security guards would be employed as government workers and be entitled to all the benefits stipulated in the Public Service Act.

"The process is in its final stages. Posts for the jobs will be advertised in the media on Sunday," said Lubisi.

He said that crime must be viewed holistically.

"Crime on school premises has nothing to do with schools, it's a problem affecting every citizen of this country," he said.

Lubisi disputed claims that the department had neglected safety at schools. He said he had met safety and security department officials to work out a lasting strategy to make all schools in the province safer.

Lubisi said: "This is not the first time in history that the department is deploying such a large number of security guards at one time.

"This administration has always assisted some schools by deploying guards on school premises and with budget allocations from the department."

He was also responding to crime statistics released this week by the Safety and Security Department, which showed that KwaZulu-Natal is one of the country's hardest-hit crime hot spots.

"Schools should not be treated as islands. They are part of the community. If the community is attacked by criminals, so will schools," Lubisi said.

"[People] know the criminals and should help police bring them to book," Lubisi said.