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Crime Surge at South African Educational Institutions Sparks Concern

Azra Hoosen | ah@radioislam.co.za
1 March 2024 | 15:00 CAT
5 min read

South Africa is witnessing a troubling surge in violent crimes occurring within educational premises nationwide, prompting urgent calls for heightened intervention from the Department of Basic Education (DBE).

Police Minister Bheki Cele recently unveiled the latest crime statistics from the South African Police Service (SAPS) for the third quarter of the 2023/24 fiscal year (October to December 2023), shedding light on the prevailing crime trends across the country.

According to the Democratic Alliance (DA), during the same period, there were alarming figures reported: seven murders, 24 attempted murders, 252 cases of assault/grievous bodily harm (GBH), and 61 rapes within the premises of schools, universities, colleges, and day-care/aftercare facilities. Additionally, there has been an uptick in hijackings at school events, further compounding worries for both parents and educational institutions.

As the safety of students and staff remains a top priority, there are growing calls for the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to take decisive action to address these concerning statistics and ensure the security of educational environments across the country.

CEO of NAPTOSA KZN, Thirona Moodley told Radio Islam, that we have to see schools as a reflection of the communities they are in. “If the national crime stats are so disturbing, it will manifest itself in our schools. It impacts the learners, the teachers, the parents, and the learning components. Teaching and learning is disrupted because of violence at schools,” said Moodley.

She emphasised that resolving this issue is not straightforward, as numerous variables contribute to violence within schools.

Moodley recounted a recent tragic incident where a grade 10 learner was fatally stabbed by another learner, succumbing to his injuries shortly after arriving at the hospital due to severe blood loss. Additionally, she mentioned the premeditated shooting of a principal in Gauteng by a young learner. “These incidents underscore the pressing need for improved security measures in schools. Law enforcement authorities are already overwhelmed, and schools are increasingly viewed as vulnerable targets. Compounding the issue, inadequate security provisions by the Education Department leave schools exposed, with collapsing fences and insufficient security systems contributing to property loss and the prevalence of violence,” she said.

Moodley asserts ensuring security in schools ultimately falls upon the community to take responsibility.

Moodley believes addressing violence and poor discipline within schools is paramount. She said establishing a strong disciplinary framework within schools sets the tone for a culture of respect and accountability, ultimately reducing incidents of violence against teachers and among students.

Moodley said that the governing body plays a crucial role in enforcing the code of conduct and ensuring that discipline is taken seriously. “It’s essential to amend policies and codes of conduct to emphasize the consequences of misconduct, thereby instilling a sense of responsibility and accountability among learners. By prioritizing discipline within schools, positive behaviours can extend beyond the school gates and positively impact the broader community,” she added.

LISTEN to the full interview with Muallimah Annisa Essack and CEO of NAPTOSA KZN, Thirona Moodley, here.

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