Pretoria: The Western Cape government is hopeful to re-open the schools that were closed in Manenberg – following gang violence in the area.
The Western Cape Education Department was forced to close 14 Manenberg schools until the weekend when 300 teachers reported to the department’s metro central district office on Wednesday instead of to their schools. Several people have lost their lives in Manenberg in recent weeks due to gang violence.
On Thursday, the Western Cape Education MEC Donald Grant, Community Safety MEC Dan Plato and Social Development MEC Albert Fritz together with SAPS, City of Cape Town and the Metro Police met with a representative group of educators from the Manenberg to discuss safety concerns and the re-opening of schools on Monday so that teaching and learning can continue.
The aim of the meeting was also to exchange information on the situation in Manenberg and its effects on schools, review the initiatives that are in place in the area and to discuss possible new steps that can be taken to meet the safety concerns of the educators.
At the meeting, the educators also expressed two main concerns, the safety of educators travelling to and from schools and on-going violence and shootings outside school premises.
The Western Cape Government and the City of Cape Town have put together a proposal that focuses on safe access in and out of Manenberg and the protection of the schools.
The City has offered to deploy additional manpower of between 60-80 Metro law enforcement staff in Manenberg.
The manpower would be divided between schools during school hours and along the access routes before and after school.
MEC Grant has requested that the representative group of educators select a “task team” that would assist the Education Department and the Metro police to identify where the manpower is most needed.
The team will assist in plotting out “safe movement corridors” for educators where there will be high law enforcement presence and will identify the security needs of each of the schools.
The final details of the plan will be communicated to all schools on Saturday, with the intention to re-open schools on Monday.
“Our objective is to ensure the safety of our educators and learners before, during and after school, so that teaching and learning can continue,” Grant said.
Grant said the Provincial Government will also continue to engage with the SAPS when it comes to stepping up law enforcement in the area, as this responsibility cannot rest solely with the metro police.