South Africa


Western Cape MEC commits to gradually beefing up safety and security measures in schools

Western Cape MEC commits to gradually beefing up safety and security measures in schools
Western Cape Education MEC David Maynier said that despite the department having managed to place more than 50,000 pupils in grades 1 to 8, the provincial education system was 'under severe admission pressure'. (Photo: Gallo Images / Beeld / Deaan Vivier)

Improved safety and security measures will gradually be rolled out in schools from 2023 onwards, according to David Maynier, Minister of Education for the Western Cape. He pointed out that improved school safety can also be boosted by increased community involvement.

The Western Cape government has committed to constructing secure fencing at 30 schools annually for five years – totalling 150 schools over the period.

This forms part of the allocated financial year 2023/2024 budget of R71.6-million to promote safety and security in schools amid a decline in school safety, Western Cape Provincial Minister of Education David Maynier told a sitting of the legislature.

During the sitting of the house, Maynier highlighted ways to promote safety and security in schools.

Western Cape MEC commits to gradually beefing up safety and security measures in schools

Western Cape Education MEC David Maynier. (Photo: Gallo Images / Nardus Engelbrecht)

Tackling crime 

The Western Cape government intends to annually increase the number of School Resource Officers (SROs) stationed in schools, to tackle safety and crime issues.

“This year we will find an additional 18 school resource officers, bringing the total number of officers deployed in our schools to 46. And we will add another 18, and the year after that another 18, for a total of 82 SROs in our schools,” said Maynier.

The new officers will be stationed in the crime hotspot areas of Khayelitsha, Westbank, Delft, Hanover Park and Philippi, where they are most urgently required.

Security subsidising continues

To ensure that schools are secure during and after school activities, the government is providing subsidies for  holiday security to 436 schools, and will continue to subsidise security on an emergency basis. A total of 860 schools will receive Safe Schools Programme training in the current year. 

Read more in Daily Maverick : Cape Town learner attacked with ‘brick, knuckle dusters and a piece of wood’ by fellow pupils

Schools that have not yet received the security plan training will be supported with a plan put in place to develop the security plan training. 

“Our district support teams implemented a variety of positive behavioural and training programme sessions on trauma-informed schools, and emotional aid training has also reached thousands of teachers across the province,” said Maynier. 

He also touched on the significance of the Safe Schools Holiday Programme that took place during the winter holidays, with a goal to provide learners with a “safe environment and positive activities to keep them out of harm’s way when schools closed”.

Learners leaving school as Western Cape Minister of Police Oversight and Community Safety Reagen Allen visited Manenberg High school in May 2022 in Cape Town. The visit was after spikes in shootings and crime in the area. (Photo: Gallo Images / Brenton Geach)

Get the community involved 

Maynier pointed out that the safety crisis in schools cannot be solved by the government alone. The Western Cape Education Department works closely with Law Enforcement, NGOs and other Western Cape government departments to tackle safety in a holistic way, but community support is required as well.

“Someone somewhere knows who the culprits are and they need to speak up. As always, we urge the public to report any suspicious activity in and around our schools to SAPS or the School Safety hotline immediately as this can make all the difference in apprehending the perpetrators and keeping the schools safe in the Western Cape,” said the MEC.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Gunfire outside Manenberg schools sends children scrambling for cover — not for the first time

Western Cape provincial head of the African Christian Democratic Party Ferlon Christians told the legislature that education cannot solve all the problems alone. “I know as a member that the MEC’s primary responsibility is education and not community safety, but education cannot do it alone. You have to look at a society approach now and involve the community. I am so terrified that these guns are now entering our school,” he said. DM

Contact the call centre hotline for school safety on 080-045-4647.


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