Crime also strangles schools

Henry

The most recent crime statistics have painted a bleak picture of safety in South Africa. This is also true for our educational institutions, where no less than seven murders were committed between October and December last year. In addition, a total of 24 cases of attempted murder were reported and 61 rapes reportedly took place. Furthermore, 252 incidents of assault were reported at educational institutions, most of these in schools.

Experts say this problem’s roots lie deeper than simply installing additional security measures at schools.

According to the crime statistics released last week, six of the seven murders and 38 of the 61 rapes reported between October and December took place at schools. The only other murder was at a tertiary institution, where 11 rapes also took place. Furthermore, six alleged rapes took place at a day care or after-school service and six at a special school.

A 13-year-old learner from Primrose Primary School in Germiston was arrested just last week, after he shot the principal at the school. The chief survived the incident.

The number of murders in schools is still far less than the number of murders recorded in the same period on farms (107), business premises (83) or even mining areas (16).

However, the number of rapes, incidents of attempted murder and assault at educational institutions increased, compared to the same period in 2022. Then 12 murders, 21 attempted murders and 201 assaults were reported. A total of 56 complaints of rape at an educational institution were also reported. Most of these had once again been at a school.

The DA said on Monday that the “bloodbath” in schools must end, and said that this party’s policy creates a safe space within school environments. “The DA’s Western Cape safe schools program is a holistic approach that creates safe spaces that minimize the opportunity for abuse and ensures safety policy statements and structures for reporting incidents are in place,” said Marina van Zyl, the DA’s shadow minister of education. , said Monday.

Yet most rapes of all the provinces (12) took place at educational institutions in the Western Cape. The Western Cape also recorded the second most murders (2) and the third most assaults (32) on school grounds.

Basil Manuel, chairman of the teachers’ union Naptosa, says that although he would not describe the above figures as a massacre, it is extremely worrying that children die at school. “It’s extremely tragic. There is nothing worse for a principal than to tell a mother that her child has died at school.”

He says that although it would certainly help if schools had more resources to secure the site, the solution rather lies at the social level. “So many communities see violence as a way to solve a problem. We all have a role to play in making our communities less violent. Teachers cannot solve this problem alone.”

He says visible policing can also play a big role in combating crime in and around schools.