[Lawlessness reigns. Gangs should be locked up en masse and given hard
labour 6 days a week. If tough measures were taken in this country we
would soon put gangs out of business. I find it impossible to believe
that crime can be an issue if a Government is determined to solve the
problem - hence I believe the ANC does not want to solve the problem.
A no entry sign, two guard dogs and six security guards armed only with
handcuffs are all that the 1 100 pupils at Arcadia High in Bonteheuwel in
the Western Cape have for protection, even after armed gangsters barged
into the school last week and threatened the principal at gunpoint.
When a Cape Times team visited the school on Monday, there were gaping
holes in the fence. An outsider had climbed through a hole and sat
smoking on the field.
It is believed gangsters searching for Grade 8 pupil Nazeem "Donkie"
Gabriels, 15, got into the school through these holes.
'There's no way they can get me there. I will be protected at home'
In his first interview since the incident, Gabriels described how
principal Desmond Mocke had shielded him in the school safe as gangsters
"I am happy I am still alive. I was scared," he said, adding that a fight
with a group of gangsters a few days earlier might have prompted the
He was thankful Mocke had protected him, but said he felt safer at home.
"There's no way they can get me there. I will be protected at home," he
said, referring to friends who would come to his aid.
Gabriels, who lives with his grandmother, said he had escaped through one
of the holes in the fence after police rounded up some of the gangsters.
Meanwhile, while Mocke says everything is "under control", he has
expressed concern about the security guards' ability to handle volatile
"Gangsters don't care (about killing anyone) and are not afraid. I don't
even know whether these guards are trained.
"We should have had our fencing fixed two years ago."
The school continued to wait for this to be done.
He continued to feel "anxious", Mocke said.
The education department needed to give "extra care" to schools in
high-risk areas, he said.
"If we had safety, there would be a better culture of learning. Violence
at schools is breaking me up bit by bit."
The Safe Schools programme's provincial manager, Nariman Khan, said a
committee had met on Friday to discuss safety measures. They were
reviewing the high school's needs, such as for an electronically
controlled gate. The fence would be repaired within a week and a half,
Khan welcomed Education MEC Cameron Dugmore's move to re-valuate the Safe
Schools programme - expected to be a key focus in his budget speech on
Tuesday. Asked where it had fallen short, she said lack of human
resources made things difficult.
There was only one Safe Schools co-ordinator in each of the seven
education management districts covering about 250 schools.
"Based on recent incidents, it may seem as though the Safe Schools
programme has failed, but there are many schools where we have had
This article was originally published on page 3 of Cape Times on April
Source: Independent Online (IOL)