New safety plan for schools

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School safety officers and social worker joined surprise search for weapons and drugs. (File)
School safety officers and social worker joined surprise search for weapons and drugs. (File)

Plans to secure the safety of Hangberg learners are underway following the horrific shooting of a man (46) in front of learners at Hangberg Pre-primary School last month.

The victim, reportedly a parent of one of the learners, was shot in the head outside the school’s gate during the morning school drop-off period on Wednesday 10 February. The man later succumbed to his wounds.

Eight days later, representatives from Hout Bay community policing forum (CPF), Community Crime Prevention (CCP), Hout Bay Neighbourhood Watch (HBNW), the principals of Hangberg Pre-Primary and Sentinel Primary School as well as a delegation of police officers met at Sentinel Primary to discuss a security plan and potential projects to aid in securing the safety of learners, particularly in the Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu areas.

Anthony Chemaly, chair of the Hout Bay CPF, says since the meeting, a risk assessment of the school safety action plan has been completed and an inspection of the premises has been conducted to identify further improvements to the security framework.

In addition, HBNW donated two two-way radios – linked to the Hout Bay Watchcon Control Centre, the police, emergency services and fire services – to the school to allow for quick communication.

“To increase visible policing, the police agreed to do check-ins at the school grounds,” Chemaly says.

Last week, Chemaly met with Rob Quintas, councillor for ward 74, who, in turn, has reached out to Western Cape provincial minister of education, Debbie Schäfer and the City of Cape Town’s Mayco member for transport, Felicity Purchase, requesting a meeting to discuss support.

According to Chemaly, they hope to engage with the City and national government to possibly assist in providing some resources to implement CCTV infrastructure as well as install a rear exit gate to allow for the safe evacuation of the school learners in an emergency. “At present, there is no extra budget available to assist with CCTV infrastructure from the City, but we will request financial support for this and the gate, regardless, to hopefully have consideration in the next financial year,” he adds.

Chemaly says the CPF and HBNW have discussed the roll-out of a potential project, called “Centres of Safety”, at schools in Hout Bay, starting with higher-risk schools in Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu.

“Each school is risk assessed, measures are implemented to increase safety, infrastructure to host CCTV platforms in Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg, regular daily police patrols and sign-ins, and specific crime awareness and mentorship programmes (hiking/mountain club),” Chemaly says.

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