A Grade 8 pupil from Oakdale Secondary School died on Thursday.
Gauteng Education MEC Matome Chiloane was met by a tough crowd of disgruntled parents following an alleged stabbing incident at a school in Ennerdale, south of Johannesburg.
Chiloane, accompanied by provincial department spokesperson Steve Mabona, visited the Oakdale Secondary School on Friday after a Grade 8 boy was reportedly stabbed to death.
According to the Gauteng Department of Education, the pupil was allegedly stabbed after a fight broke out outside the school’s premises on Thursday.
A Grade 10 pupil was also injured and is currently in hospital.
It is further alleged that the incident was influenced by prevalent gang violence among pupils from different schools in the area.
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The South African Police Service (Saps) is investigating the matter.
‘Step up or step out’
Community members of Ennerdale staged demonstrations outside the school as Chiloane arrived, demanding that Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga come to the area.
“The minister must come here, not the MEC. Our child died,” one resident said.
Other residents were heard shouting:”Enough is enough”.
One parent told Chiloane that the ANC government was “doing nothing” and was “failing to protect our kids”.
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“You guys better step up or step out because we cannot allow this to happen daily. Two of my children are attending this school… every day. I come back from work [and they tell me]; ‘daddy, this was happening today’.
“My son told me that the day before yesterday four rival gangs were fighting in the school. What are you guys doing about it? Take care of Ennerdale. We are not stepchildren. We are part of South Africa. Take care of our kids,” the father said.
He added: “This thing has been reported for several days… it has been ongoing. Now what are you guys going to do about it? Empty promises again? And then, because you are part of the ANC group, you want us to vote again? No way!”
More security to be deployed
Chiloane told parents that the provincial department would strengthen security at the school.
“The first thing we will be doing [is] deploying security here for 24 hours, over 10 [security guards] between the two shifts. At night, we will also be dispatching a dog.
“We don’t want a dog during the day because what if it bites one of our children? At night we will ensure we have a dog. You know dogs are better than humans in some instances [because] they are quicker when there is an intruder.”
He also said there would be a security upgrade to the school’s infrastructure.
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“We will be fixing the infrastructure… there was an issue raised [about] the fence. The fence will be erected from Monday…. but, please, when that fence is built, let’s protect that fence. Let’s not allow it to be stolen.
“Many times we build this infrastructure and after two or three weeks some criminals come and [steal] and nobody says anything. So please let us work together.”
The MEC further indicated that the department would address the issue of an inadequate number of teachers.
“We are dealing with it. We will be dispatching mobile [schools] to deal with the pressure. Because we are finalising a satellite school in Lawley, we will be removing quite some kids from this school and other schools that we have identified into that satellite school to ease the pressure here.”
Speaking to reporters, Chiloane said such incidents were of concern to the department.
The MEC urged parents to work with the school.
“Discipline can only be learned at home. Parents have left that to schools and we have problems with that because now these kids were fighting in school, but we were able to control it.”
Chiloane highlighted that the security won’t be permanent.
“They will be here up until we are satisfied with the state of the school. So we won’t make it permanent, in the sense that it is a lifetime, but we are going to keep [the security] here long enough. We will have patrollers, they are going to be here permanently.”
He added that the Gauteng Education Department won’t investigate the stabbing incident.
“We will just wait for the police investigation.”
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