Minister Plato: Misconduct by School Safety Volunteers Will Not be Tolerated
Media Statement by Dan Plato, Minister of Community Safety
My department has launched an independent investigation into the alleged assault which has left a learner at Chris Hani High School seriously injured. Misconduct by school safety volunteers will not be tolerated and the services of the two volunteers involved in the incident have been withdrawn with immediate effect. Criminal charges against them are being investigated by the South African Police Service and I will closely monitor this investigation. The role of school safety volunteers is to increase safety at schools.
The School Safety Volunteer Programme is currently under review to ensure its alignment with our strategic objective of increasing safety in the Western Cape (Strategic Objective 5) through the "whole of society" approach. We are in the process of redefining the role of the volunteers, who in the past operated as a "shadow security force" when the programme started, under the Bambanani name.
The focus is now being shifted towards volunteers operating as safety coordinators, having the responsibility to oversee and report on the state of safety at every school. Duties are to include identifying dangerous road crossings and the need to institute school patrols, as well as the department's Walking Buses initiative which sees groups of learners being escorted on foot to and from school.
The volunteers must also monitor learner transport and report offences such as overloaded vehicles transporting learners to and from school. The safety coordinator programme is currently running at 183 schools in the province and has seen many successes. Volunteers agree to a code of conduct, which will be strictly monitored, and we will not allow any transgressions. The safety of our learners and educators is of the utmost importance.