Following reports of several students being abducted in the Zonnebloem area in recent weeks, the Metropole Central Education District has requested that South African Police Services increase visibility in the area.
“We have requested SAPS to increase visibility in the Zonnebloem area. We will also place these cases on our Watching Brief system to monitor progress,” Enver Hassen, Head of Learner Support for the Metropole Education District, said to IOL.
MEC for the Western Cape Department of Education, Debbie Schäfer, said that the department has received reports of learners being drugged and abducted. One report also alleges that the students are being transported in a white van.
“I have received reports from our District Officials that two separate incidents of abductions have reportedly taken place in the Zonnebloem area over the past two weeks. Learners are reportedly being targeted while travelling to and from school,” she said. “We have reported these incidents to SAPS, Cape Town. In addition, the District Social Worker has issued communication to schools in the area.”
The MEC added that this is a case for extreme concern, and has urged parents to act with caution. “We have requested SAPS to increase visibility in the Zonnebloem area. We will also place these cases on our Watching Brief system to monitor progress. These perpetrators must be found and charged,” Schäfer said.
Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said that police services are in constant communication with schools in the province.
“On the policing front we are part of the Safer Schools Programme with the Department of Education that looks into safety issues around schools. In addition, we are in constant communication with schools in the province,” Rwexana said. “As part of our policing initiatives, patrols are held around schools in the Cape Town area, including Zonnebloem. In winter, we step up our operations to start at 04:00 in the morning as learners get to school while it is still dark. The operations continue in the afternoon after school. The SAPS with other roleplayers including the scholar patrols (Traffic Services) work towards ensuring safety of learners on a continuous basis,”
She also added that the police are regarding these abductions and other crimes against children in a very serious light.
“We urge those with information about the above cited cases to report them immediately. It is our objective to investigate in order to bring the perpetrators to book. We advise learners and parents to be vigilant at all times on their way to and from school. SAPS patrols and operations will continue in the area in an effort to ensure visibility,” Rwexana said.
Learners, parents and teachers are advised to phone Safe Schools Call Centre at 0800454647 to report incidents or for counselling and advice.