Minister Grant: Increasing Security Needs in Our Province's Schools
Ensuring that our learners and educators are able to teach and learn in a safe and secure environment is a priority for this government.
But given the amount of crime and violence we have in this country everyday, we do face some major challenges in this regard.
These challenges include vandalism and theft at our schools, the rise in gangsterism in certain areas, the influx of drugs and violence into our communities.
Ultimately, we want to strengthen security measures at all our schools, therefore, as part of a long-term plan to secure all our schools in the province, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) are systematically strengthening security measures at 50 schools each financial year.
In 2006, 109 schools were identified by South African Police Services (SAPS) and the WCED's Safe School directorate as being 'at risk' during that period. These schools have since received security packages and support from the WCED.
At the end of 2009 it was decided that these schools would form the base of our plan to secure all the schools in the province. An additional 50 schools were selected for the 2010/2011 financial year and received core security packages based on the probability of risks and the hazards identified at that specific school.
I must emphasise that not all of these schools are considered 'high risk'. The risks and hazards at each of these schools vary with some schools classified as low to medium risk schools.
For example, not all the schools had problems with learner violence or gangsterism, some schools had incidents with burglary and vandalism, while others had not yet experienced any major crimes and were chosen as a precautionary measure because of their proximity to hotspot crime areas.
Schools are identified based on a number of factors, including the number of incidents reported to the safe schools call centre and the SAPS, priorities as listed by the district, and crime patterns in and around the area.
The WCED are currently in the process of finalizing the priority schools for the 2011/12 year.
A total of 50 schools will be identified in the following districts:
- Metropole East Education District 5
- Metropole Central Education District 9
- Metropole North Education District 7
- Metropole South Education District 9
- Overberg Education District 4
- Cape Winelands Education District 8
- Eden/ Central Karoo Education District 4
- West Coast Education District 4
Once these schools have been identified, the WCED will be making available enhanced security infrastructure at 209 of our schools.
Each of the 50 schools chosen will complete a safety audit and a priority list with their security needs.
The WCED will then make available various security infrastructure such as the installation of alarm systems, the upgrading of existing alarm systems linked to armed response, burglar proofing such as safety gates and razor wire, and hand-held metal detectors for schools.
Of course, we will continue with our zero-tolerance approach to crime, violence and vandalism in all of our schools, and will support, wherever possible, schools that are not on our current list.
We will continue to work with SAPS and encourage communities to take ownership of their schools. The strongest deterrent is community ownership and we will continue to build relationships with all three sectors so that are schools become the safe havens that they are meant to be.
Spokesperson for Minister of Education, Donald Grant
Tel: 021 467 2377
Cell: 072 724 1422