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Pupils' safety key for Lesufi

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says the theft of high-tech equipment from schools is discouraging.
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says the theft of high-tech equipment from schools is discouraging.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

School safety has become a key priority of the Gauteng department of education with MEC Panyaza Lesufi announcing that the department is embarking on a process to radically revise school safety intervention in the province.

Tabling the budget vote in the legislature yesterday, Lesufi said the school safety campaign will ensure that learners, teachers and support staff, were safe from violence, bullying, harassment and substance abuse.

"Working with the department of community safety and the South African Police Service, we will ensure that schools are free from exposures to weapons, theft and the sale or use of illegal substances on school grounds," Lesufi said.

Gauteng has seen a rise in school violence this year with the latest incident of Daniel Bakwela who was stabbed to death allegedly by Mohammed Mwela, a fellow pupil outside Forest High School in Turffontein in Johannesburg, in June.

"Every child should feel safe from violence in their school, yet there are many that do not. Today it is not unusual for learners to violently attack other learners, teachers, security guards and school personnel showing a complete lack of respect of authority.

"Even though your child may not be the actual victim of violence in school, there is a very good chance that he or she will witness violent acts throughout the educational years," Lesufi said.

He said the lack of social cohesion, inadequate care of children and a failure to accept and internalise good societal norms were leading causes of crime, drug/substance abuse.

"The department will embark on a reconstruction of a broad coalition comprised government and civil society, including the business sector that will actively and proactively address issues of crime prevention and mitigation in our schools and communities."

The department has also set out five strategic goals to guide their work in the sixth administration. These goals will focus on quality education and developing the creativity of Gauteng's young and working people by building their skills and capacities.

Teboho Magafane, provincial secretary of the Congress of South African Students, said they were happy the MEC will now prioritise the safety at schools.

"Safety is a main priority in our schools and for us to achieve better results we need to be safe at our schools," Magafane said.

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