Call for SAPS to look after 6 000 schools an unrealistic political stunt – DA KZN

Party says police force is under-resourced and the DoE's demand an outlandish suggestion

DoE’s call for SAPS to look after KZN’s 6 000 schools is an unrealistic political stunt

19 June 2019

The Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal rejects calls by both the KZN Department of Education (DoE) and the Educators Union of South Africa (EUSA), which would see police deployed at schools across the province and educators armed with guns.

While reasons for the DoE’s call are entirely understandable given the level of violence within our schools, it is completely unrealistic to expect an already failing and under-resourced SAPS to deploy officers to KZN’s some 6 000 schools.  This kind of demand by the DoE is a political stunt – one which they know can’t be met and which needs to be better thought through before yet another outlandish suggestion is made next time.

The DoE’s alternative proposal of police doing random checks in the absence of proper school security is also flawed as it leaves massive gaps in between these checks, with the potential of armed violence during this time. This is why the DA has called on KZN Education MEC, Khwazi Mshengu to urgently audit - within a reasonable 3 month period - the current status of school security in our province. This information will provide a basis upon which to move forward in tackling this massive issue.

While the DA is not opposed to lawful private gun ownership, our schools must be gun-free zones. We therefore cannot support EUSA’s call for teachers to be armed.  Conflict and volatility amongst educators themselves, educators and SGB’s and between educators and management has been well documented and the last thing we need is armed people in schools. This will only magnify the threat of violence.

Instead, what is needed is proper security at schools which prevents weapons from being brought onto the premises. Teacher unions should be echoing the DA’s call to spend money on improving security - and not on allegedly illegal tenders given to cronies for sanitary pads.

The DA in KZN will continue to fight for safer schools in the interests of our young people. We expect the MEC to follow through on our audit request and to provide feedback to the province’s Education portfolio committee within the next three months so that solutions can be urgently found.

Issued by Imran Keeka, DA KZN Spokesperson on Education, 19 June 2019