Gugulethu pupils say they carry knives to school out of fear for their lives

2016-05-13 18:38
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Cape Town – Two high school pupils in Gugulethu say the knives that police found on them were for protection while travelling to school.

The two okapi knives were uncovered in their knee-high socks during a search at Fezeka Secondary School on Thursday.

Speaking to News24 in the staff room afterwards, one of the teenagers said boys outside the school "want their revenge on us".

Fezeka teacher and safety officer Sibongile Hlakula confirmed that there was tension between two gangs after a pupil was killed off school premises at the end of the first term.

"He was stabbed just before the end of March in Barcelona. Friends of the dead boy suspected another pupil instigated others to kill him," she told News24 on Friday.

They threatened the pupil – one of the teenagers found with a knife – with his life.

"One group in class during lunch said, 'you are going to die'. He panicked and said he had nothing to do with it [killing the pupil]. That is when we intervened," Hlakula said.

She said a picture of the threatened pupil, with the words "RIP", had circulated on Facebook.

"At times, I took this guy in my car to school for safety."

The threats resulted in the search – co-ordinated with the education department and police – for weapons and drugs.

But the surprise search fell flat when no sniffer dogs pitched up, and with cops claiming they weren’t told about the operation. The two minors with knives were placed in a police van.

Hlakula said it seemed as though gangsterism and drugs affected neighbouring schools too.

Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schafer said she was left "very disillusioned" after the disorganised police operation.

"I can see why my safe schools directorate complains continually that when they really need the police to be here, they are not here."

The assistance of law enforcement agencies was needed to ensure pupil safety, her spokesperson, Jessica Shelver, said on Friday.

“The support of parents and the community to encourage their children to refrain from violence and antisocial behaviour" was also needed.

Read more on:    cape town  |  education  |  crime

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