Equal Education media statement: EE members picket at Western Cape SOPA to put key questions to Premier Winde about the Western Cape Safety Plan
20 February 2020
Today, Thursday 20 February, Equal Education (EE) Western Cape members are picketing at the Rocklands Civic Centre in Mitchells Plain where Western Cape Premier Alan Winde will be delivering the State of the Province Address (SOPA). EE facilitators, organisers and parent members are gathering to ask Premier Winde critical questions related to the Western Cape Safety Plan and how it will play a role in ensuring #SafeSchools and communities.
EE has been campaigning around safety in the Western Cape since 2014. In an effort to understand the nature and complexity of school violence, EE members undertook a social audit of 244 schools in 2015. The scope of the audit was able to provide a clear sense of systemic safety challenges, which included both psychosocial and infrastructural challenges within Western Cape schools. This is an important consideration as provincial leaders develop a safety plan.
On 25 October 2019, hundreds of learners marched to the Western Cape Provincial Legislature to express their frustrations regarding the safety challenges faced in schools, and the lack of responsiveness and accountability from the provincial government. Equalisers called on the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) and South African police Services (SAPs) to provide the support, resources and capacity necessary to ensure #SafeSchools and safe communities for all. This requires compliance with the Norms and Standards for Public School Infrastructure deadline and interdepartmental efforts geared towards improving school safety. Premier Winde and Education MEC Debbie Schäfer were both invited to the march, however, they failed to be present to receive our memorandum and engage learners – instead they did what they always do and sent representatives.
On 3 October 2019, EE members attended a community engagement in Delft where the Premier presented the Western Cape Safety Plan. At present, EE members are of the opinion that the safety plan presents us with more questions than answers.
Taking into consideration the Westerrn Cape Safety Plan, we want Premier Winde to address the following questions:
- What is the purpose of having the SOPA in Mitchell’s Plain if it is not going to be accessible to its people? Why is it taking place when the affected people are at school and work?
- What means have you implemented to ensure communities are aware of this safety plan?
- Inkulumbuso ye phondo le ntshona koloni ikujonga njani uku khuseleka kwabafundi, oTishala noTishalakazi kunye nabahlali be phondo?
- What measures have been put in place, in the safety plan, to ensure the psycho-social needs of learners are seen to?
- Is the deployment of 3 000 law enforcement officers a sustainable solution?
- How do communities hold these law enforcement officers accountable? What is the allocation process of law enforcement?
- Whether law enforcement deployment works is not the main question. Instead, we need to ask whether it is a sustainable solution to safety challenges faced within the province. How long will this be carried out? What are the possible long term interventions?
Questions related to education
- What measures are currently in place to hold Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer accountable?
- Education receives a substantial chunk of the provincial budget. Where is this budget breakdown for school safety specifically?
Date: Thursday 20 February 2020
Place: Rocklands Civic Centre, Park Road, Rocklands, Mitchells Plain
To arrange a media interview: Jay-Dee Cyster (EE Communications Officer) firstname.lastname@example.org 082 924 1352