A group of over 500 Cape Town high school learners braved the rain and cold weather and marched to the Western Cape Provincial Legislature on Friday. The march organised by Equal Education demanded safety in schools.
Liyema Avela Saliwa, a learner at Oaklands High School said they wanted their safety to be prioritized as learners felt unsafe both inside and out of the schools.
Saliwa also an Equal Education representative said that they decided to march because the Western Cape Education Department did not make school safety a priority in Cabinet. She said that schools were plagued by violence and gangsterism.
Saliwa said “In order for learning to take place successfully, we need to be safe.”
The march began at Hanover Street where learners from various Cape Town high schools arrived in taxis and warmed up by singing and dancing around the parking lot.
According to a grade 10 learner at Cedar High School in Mitchell’s Plain a guard had been stabbed inside the school a few weeks prior.The learner said gang violence was a huge concern in the school and more security guards along with CCTV were needed.
The group then marched along Darling Street, carrying a banner that read: We demand safe schools. The learners waved to the statue of Nelson Mandela as they passed City Hall before continuing on to the Western Cape Provincial Legislature.
A grade 10 learner at Gordon High School in Somerset West said they were next to a highway so they wanted to change the road and build a bridge to make it safer for kids to cross.
A memorandum of demands was handed over to the Western Cape Education Department (WCED), South African Police Service (SAPS) and provincial Department of Community Safety.
Learners want the department to create and support school safety committees. These committees should then also be supported by SAPS. Part of the memo states that the WCED must produce a plan to monitor and enforce the implementation of school safety policies within the next six months.
The memo was received by officials of the Education and Community Safety departments, as well as the Premier’s Office.