Budget, legislative constraints compromise Western Cape pupils' safety – MEC

2019-03-28 17:20
Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schafer. (Lindile Mbontsi, Getty)

Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schafer. (Lindile Mbontsi, Getty)

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The Western Cape education department says that while it has allocated more than R100m towards school safety over the medium term there are still budget, legislative and security constraints the department faces in fully dealing with pupil safety.

This was revealed by MEC for education in the province Debbie Schafer, during her department's 2019/2020 budget vote speech where she said the allocated funds would be used for several safety initiatives.

The amount, which sits at just over R112m, is for initiatives which include the installation of secure perimeter fencing, restricted electronic access, monitored alarm systems, a safe schools call centre, a walking bus programme, security resilience scorecard and strategic partnerships between schools and communities.

"While this funding will not necessarily end violence in and around our schools, it will be used to provide and reinforce targeted security infrastructure support to schools," said Schafer.

Community and gang violence

Schafer said that while the education department implements strategies to address school violence and safety, risks that schools face were as a result of community and gang violence.

"We are doing as much as we can as an education department to try and protect our schools, but we simply do not have the legislative mandate, security manpower or budget to guarantee learner safety from gang violence," she said.

Schafer said the department was in the process of implementing a risk classification tool which would allow the department to identify and classify existing and emerging safety risks "so that the relevant security infrastructure and other resources are deployed when and where most needed". 

Schafer also used the opportunity to lament the prevalence of vandalism and burglaries in schools, saying despite additional security support and enforcement, in the current year, the department had allocated R30m towards the emergency maintenance fund which will assist in repairing schools affected by these crimes.     

Read more on:    cape town  |  education
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