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Several people were injured in an attack at a Pietermaritzburg school

Neelam Rahim | neelam@radioislam.co.za

4 min read | 18:28 pm CAT

Several people have been injured at a primary school in KwaZulu-Natal, with the violence playing out in full view of terrified children. It was at first believed that a man opened fire at the Alston Primary School in Pietermaritzburg, but investigations indicate that he was armed with a screwdriver. The attacker was arrested after he was overpowered by school staff, security and residents.

In an interview with Radio Islam International, spokesperson for Education in KZN, Dr Imran Keeka, said school safety is not a new issue. There has also been a video circulated on social media, which was frightening to see young children being subject to such an attack. 

Dr Keeka had recently debated the issue in the KZN legislature and has raised the case since 2019 when he moved the motion calling upon the then MEC to audit school fences and access points into schools. Including making recommendations on how to improve school safety. 

“During the education’s budget debate, he [former MEC] swabbed it off and ignored all of the suggestions I had made to make schools safer.” 

At the legislature debate around two weeks ago, the issue was again raised as there are many incidents taking place. 

Dr Keeka said the solution was the ANC motion of ‘Ndaba’. 

“The Ndaba is referred to as a meet, eat and greet session that will not result in any benefit to the learners of school nor does it equal school safety,” he says. 

Instead, Dr Keeka has offered an alternative to a school safety programme. A national framework already exists to make schools safer. 

According to Dr Keeka, the school national safety programme needs to be tweaked to assist schools in becoming safer places. 

He added that school safety should be a whole society approach. 

Above all, the program requires accountability and solid political leadership to ensure effectiveness. 

Meanwhile, there has been no hearing to date, although the department has said they will be dispatching social workers and psychologists to the school.

Listen below to the interview with Aanisa Essack and Dr Imran Keeka on Radio Islam’s podcast.

 

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