Gauteng education department asks SAPS to monitor Forest High School, following fatal stabbing

2019-06-05 19:39
(Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

(Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

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The Gauteng Department of Education says it has requested the police to closely monitor the area around Forest High School in Turffontein, Johannesburg.

This after a 16-year-old Grade 8 pupil was stabbed to death by a fellow pupil outside the school on Monday. 

Department spokesperson Steve Mabona said, while the school examinations had been suspended following the incident, it had come to their attention that there were certain individuals, including pupils, who wanted revenge. 

"We had to say that police must assist us and prioritise the area. We cannot afford to allow anarchy in this country. Anyone who wants to violate the laws of the country will then meet with the justice system," Mabona said. 

He said the department would not tolerate individuals who wanted to take laws into their own hands. 

Formal complaints must be brought forward

The school has since been shut down following the fatal attack. Mabona said examinations will resume on Thursday.

"As the department, we will continue with the process of counselling at the school, because we are monitoring the situation very closely, but most of the learners are not there," he said. 

There have been complaints from various people that gangs were fighting at the school. When asked whether the department was aware of this, Mabona said there had been no formal complaint submitted to the department.

"If there are complaints that need to be investigated, it is prudent for complainants to put those complaints in writing so that they are made official," he said. 

He added that, once the department had formal complaints, along with evidence that there were gangs operating within the school, an investigating would be initiated. 

He reiterated that all those who had complaints and allegations concerning activities at the school, should bring them to the department, so that it could investigate through proper channels. 

"If there is allegation, we need to put them forward."

Educators frightened by pupils

He said the department would interact with concerned parents.

Mabona emphasised that incidents such as the stabbing would not be tolerated by the department. He said one of the issues that the department was prioritising was gangsterism in schools. 

"Learners are aware that we always preach a message that they need to be disciplined and need to understand what they are at school for. We will not be tired to overemphasise on calling parents to work with us," he added.

Mabona said educators were faced with challenges in schools, with some even being scared of pupils, as they were also being threatened by some of the very same pupils they were supposed to educate. 

He added that MEC Panyaza Lesufi would be looking closely at legalities around the expulsion of pupils.

"An expulsion can only be implemented after the HOD has agreed to that. Once he agrees that one must be expelled then he needs to find an alternative, according to the act on where the child is going to be placed. 

"That's where the MEC [Lesufi] is saying we need to look very closely at that law. Do we replace immediately, or we accommodate that learner into a programme, whether it's a diversion programme, if it's problem of drugs, rehabilitation up until we are satisfied that learner is ready to go to a school," Mabona said. 

Mabona said the department would soon be making submissions in Parliament concerning what needed to be done to an expelled pupil. 

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Read more on:    johannesburg ­  |  education  |  crime

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