Minister Schäfer comments on protest outside WCED head office
Statement by Western Cape Minister of Education Debbie Schäfer
This morning, learners from Phillipi Secondary School protested outside the head office of the Western Cape Education Department.
A senior official discussed the reason for the protest with two learner representatives. They did not present a memorandum.
The learners demanded a new brick and mortar high school for Phillipi.
The WCED is aware of this need and have therefore already budgeted for a new high school in this area. It is currently included in our infrastructure plan. However, we do not currently have the land for the school.
The department is consulting other departments and the City on the issue so as to identify a suitable piece of land for the new school.
Following the discussion with the WCED representatives, the learners remained outside the entrance of the building blocking access to staff and visitors. Police asked them to move on several occasions.
Police then allegedly shot stun grenades and the learners dispersed.
One learner fainted. WCED Safe Schools officials provided support and arranged for fire rescue services to take her to a hospital. Her family and school have been informed. Our officials are not aware of any other injuries.
We are obviously concerned about whether there was excessive force used by SAPS on the learners and we are still getting more information. The Western Cape Government has no operational authority over the police.
However, as part of the Department of Community Safety and Minister Dan Plato’s oversight function over policing in the province, Minister Plato will be raising the police’s actions of today with the Provincial Police Commissioner, Arno Lamoer, specifically whether the actions carried out today are aligned or contrary to the policy and standard operating procedure of protest actions, especially when there are children involved.