IFP Calls on KZN Department of Education to Improve Safety in Schools

Aug 1, 2023 | Press Releases

The IFP, as the Official Opposition in the KZN Legislature, once again calls on the KZN Department of Education to improve safety in schools.

This comes after a fight at Mbambangalo High School in Maqongqo, just outside Pietermaritzburg on 28 July – alleged to be over drugs – which led to some pupils carrying bush knives to school.

This is not an isolated incident. It has become commonplace for learners to enter school precincts with dangerous weapons, due to lack of safety in schools. The KZN Department of Education’s inability to improve safety in schools can be attributed to a lack of political will and a laissez-faire attitude, which continue to take centre stage in the Department.

We shouldn’t be deceived by the rhetoric from the ANC: effectively addressing the lack of school safety in KZN requires moving from rhetoric, to action. The KZN ANC provincial government must stop being a government of rhetoric; it must be a provincial government that walks the talk.

The safety of teachers and learners is non-negotiable.

Unfortunately, the Department of Education is always reactionary. They wait for learners or teachers to be injured or die before acting like they care about the safety of teachers and learners. This hypocrisy is evident in that Department officials stage visits after incidents occur at schools.

The IFP has called on the Department to increase safety and security measures in KZN schools for many years, due to recurring incidents of violence and criminal activities taking place within school premises.

Visits are not a solution.

As the IFP, we have proposed practical solutions. We have called for – and will continue to call for – the installation of metal detectors and cameras, as well as on-site security personnel to ensure that whoever gains access to a school does not have any dangerous weapons with them.

Sending condolences to the families of the deceased means little, and it does nothing to solve the problem at hand.

Last year, the KZN Department of Education stated that they had an agreement with the police, which was signed more than a decade ago, which governed safety and security at schools. However, questions remain: When and how do police conduct their search and seizure operations in schools? In which schools are these search and seizure operations conducted?

During the recent School Functionality Monitoring Follow-Up Visits, the IFP did not witness police officers conducting search and seizure operations. Where are the police that were promised? We believe that if search and seizure operations are conducted on a daily basis, learners would not bring weapons and drugs to school.

Somewhere, somehow, someone is failing to do their job.

The KZN Department of Education must wake from its slumber and acknowledge that the Province of KwaZulu-Natal is in serious trouble. We call upon the KZN MEC for Education, Mbali Frazer, to tell the community of Maqongqo and others about the plans in place to address the lack of safety in schools. Further, we urge parents to play an active role in ensuring that they don’t encourage fights but instead, be ambassadors of peace and provide the necessary support to ensure that dangerous weapons and drugs are eradicated in schools.

Mrs Thembeni Madlopha-mthethwa MPL
IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson on Education
071 8843844/ 079 1143015

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