Court orders department to provide security at ‘gang’ schools

2014-02-23 06:00

The Western Cape High Court has forced the provincial education department to provide proper security for five Manenberg schools, which have been badly disrupted by renewed gang violence in the Cape Town township.

On Friday, Judge ED Baartman granted an interim order in an application brought by teachers from the five schools and the Manenberg Teachers’ Steering Committee on Thursday after authorities had ignored their pleas for intervention in the violence-torn area.

Teachers from the Edendale Primary School, Red River Primary School, Sonderend Primary School, Rio Grande Primary School and Silverstream Secondary School said in court papers they had been operating under very dangerous conditions.

In the past week, teachers and learners had been caught in the crossfire of gun fights taking place alongside and inside schools, with the situation worsening as a result of the withdrawal of metro police – who had been deployed to provide security against gang violence – at the end of 2013.

Last week, students at Red River had to stay away from school because of the gun battles. In one, a teacher arriving at school narrowly missed being hit.

Teachers had to leave the school under armed police escort.

The court ordered the department to immediately provide armed, visible security at the schools and to escort teachers and students to areas secured by the SAPS or metro police. If the department fails to provide the protection by tomorrow, the schools will be closed until the protection is provided.

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