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Diepsloot violence spills into schools

One of the schools has been raided where scissors, knives and pangas were found

Noxolo Sibiya Journalist
Violent crime in Diepsloot, where seven people were recently killed, is spilling into schools
Violent crime in Diepsloot, where seven people were recently killed, is spilling into schools

The violent crime taking place in Diesploot is starting to spill into school grounds with pupils getting involved in clashes and stabbings outside school.

Parents and community leaders on Monday said conflicts at one school have escalated to dangerous levels where pupils have been caught on school grounds with weapons, including knives and pangas.

Some of the pupils have told parents that they have weapons because they must protect themselves.

According to the community, the dangerous weapons are used by some pupils at Itirele-Zenzele Comprehensive School in the troubled township north of Joburg to scare off their mates when there are disputes or disagreements.

Community Policing Forum (CPF) chairperson Mautla Maela said: “There have been incidents where learners use scissors to stab each other during fights.

“These children have no role models in Diepsloot. The criminals have become role models and they [children] are taking that and setting it as a standard [by idolising criminality]. Children do what they want in that school.”

He said when the CPF responds to calls about a robbery and house breakings, they have found that children as young as 16 [are involved].

Deputy chairperson of the Diepsloot Community Forum, Lefa Nkala, said their organisation raided the school where they found learners with these weapons.

“In many of our searches, we would find sharp objects such as scissors, knives and pangas. We confiscated them. There is a problem of gangsterism among some of the schoolchildren and even violent practice where on the day school closes, learners would target their enemies and beat them.

“Teachers have it tough at these schools,” Nkala said.

School governing body chairperson, Julius Maake, said the school had implemented regular search and various programmes to combat criminal elements.

“Since we took over the situation, it has been calm. There have been no stabbings this year. We have started a programme where we take the learners to different prisons where they get to see what happens in there.”

He said previously, the school had seen a flare up in what appeared to be gang activities involving pupils.

“Fights don’t start inside the classroom, they start outside the premises of the school. In some incidents, learners would label the areas [where they live and have] territories and would bar other learners from other areas from entering [certain sections in the township]. A lot of these fights stem from that.

“Those fights would then continue at school with learners bringing weapons. But things are a lot better compared to what they were since we've introduced these measures,” said Maake.

“I once found a learner with a big knife and I asked him why he needed to carry that and he said it was meant for him to defend himself outside school premises.

“When we follow some of these cases, we also find that some of these learners bully their parents at home.”

Maake said many of the behavioural issues could be attributed to children displaying act they see in the community.


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