22 February 2018
Equal Education media alert: EE Western Cape picket at SOPA to demand Premier and MECs respond to 2017 #SafeSchools march and produce #DayZero school plans
On October 27 2017, 5000 learner members of Equal Education (EE) in the Western Cape marched to Parliament to demand #SafeSchools and safe communities, along with members of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA), South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU), the Social Justice Coalition (SJC), Nyanga Community Police Forum (Nyanga CPF), and the Unite Behind coalition.
We demanded that the following Western Cape government officials – Premier Helen Zille, MEC of Education Debbie Schafer, MEC for Community Safety Dan Plato, SAPS Provincial Commissioner KE Jula, and MEC for Social Development Albert Fritz – produce plans to ensure adequate safety in schools and communities, and respond timeously with these plans.
To date, no response has been received from these public servants.
In 2015, EE conducted a social audit across 244 schools in the Western Cape, these were some of our findings:
At least one in six learners and administrators feel unsafe at school.
Corporal punishment persists and is a daily occurrence at 37% of the schools sampled.
Half of the schools sampled had fences that were durable enough to deter intruders, while 42% of the schools had fences with gaps or holes.
Three quarters of these schools do not have functional CCTV cameras.
At least one learner at 6% of the schools surveyed reported that they have been or have seen someone being sexually harassed and 4% of secondary school administrators had reported incidents of rape in the year of the audit.
Additionally, with #DayZero approaching, EE remains concerned that the Western Cape has not provided schools, parents, or the broader public with adequate plans for schools in poor and working-class communities. While the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has communicated that they have entered the second phase of their plan to keep schools open on and beyond #DayZero, their plan provides insufficient detail and unclear implementation methods.
At this point we have been able to confirm, through school visits, that three of the four high schools in Langa and less than half of the high schools in Nyanga have water tanks. The remaining high schools in these areas have no access to borehole water.
As Zille delivers her State of the Province Address (SOPA) today, members of EE and learners from affected schools around the Western Cape will picket outside the Western Cape Legislature demanding a response. We will listen for the Premier’s plans to address safety and water security for poor and working-class communities, which bear the brunt of these issues.
Our October 2017 demands to which we have received no response to date:
We call on the relevant government officials to prioritise specific funding to ensure all public schools have adequate security fencing, access control, alarms and CCTV.
We demand the adequate provision of guards and visible policing in ‘red zones’ and gangland hotspots.
We call on the Minister of Police to act with urgency to achieve equitable and rational allocation of police resources.
We call on the relevant government officials to facilitate the creation of a high-level integrated co-ordinating body to deal with the issue of safety at schools.
We call on the relevant government departments to develop specialised, safe ways for learners to report rape and sexual assault.
We demand that the relevant government departments ensure that learners at schools get better access to social workers and psychologists.
We demand that the political heads of government departments attend public hearings, organised by the signatories of the 2017 #SafeSchools march memorandum.
Where: Western Cape Legislature, Wale Street, Cape Town CBD
When: 3:15 pm to 4 pm, Thursday 22 February
For more information on our campaign click here.
*Use #SafeSchools and #SafeCommunities to follow our commentary on social media
For media enquiries:
Noncedo Madubedube (EE Head of Western Cape) 0791704656
Ntsiki Dlulani (EE Deputy Head of Western Cape) 0734698750