The Western Cape Department of Education (WCED) has announced that it has spent more than R34-million on its Safer School program. This initiative provides for reinforced targeted security around schools in the province, and aims to support a safe and secure learning environment for pupils.
“This funding is being used to provide and reinforce targeted security infrastructure in schools, to support a safe and secure learning environment for our learners,” said Basil Kivedo, the Democratic Alliance (DA) Western Cape spokesperson on Education, to IOL. “The DA in the Western Cape is pleased that the WCED remains committed to ensuring that schools remain safe places, conducive to learning, however, we urgently call on the SANDF [SA National Defence Force] in a supportive capacity to assist the SAPS [SA Police Service] and all relevant stakeholders to help ensure the safety of our teachers and learners at all costs.”
Kivedo added that he is aware that the Department is also addressing complex social issues that encourage young people to get involved in gangs, drugs and other forms of substance abuse.
“We are, however, under no illusion that the fight against gangsterism and drugs and other forms of substance abuse is hindered by our severely under-resourced police stations and inefficient justice system,” Kivedo said.
The province’s education budget has increased from R20.7-billion to approximately R22.2-billion, and this includes a school risk classification tool that works in conjunction with the City of Cape Town, South African Police Services (SAPS) and the Department of Community Safety.
“This tool will allow us to identify and classify existing and emerging safety risks so that the relevant security infrastructure and other resources are deployed when and where most needed,” MEC for Basic Education in the Western Cape, Debbie Schäffer, said earlier this year.
Due to several budgetary constraints made, the department has had to cut the emergency school maintenance fund by R5-million.
The department says R25 million has been allocated to the fund, which will assist in repairs of schools affected by burglary and vandalism.