The statement below follows the DA’s oversight visit to Eldorado Park SAPS today. Pictures of the oversight visit can be accessed here, here, and here. Please find attached soundbites in English by DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education, Ian Ollis MP, in Xhosa and Sotho by DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Nomsa Marchesi MP, and in Afrikaans by DA Member of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, Sonja Boshoff MP.
Today, DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education, Ian Ollis MP, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Nomsa Marchesi MP, DA Member of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, Sonja Boshoff MP, and DA Shadow Minister of Police, Zakhele Mbhele MP, visited Eldorado Park SAPS as part of the #SafeSchools campaign.
The delegation met with the station commander to discuss school safety and the violence which has, for a long time, gripped the community of Eldorado Park. An officer at the police station admitted that, despite their efforts at preventing crime and drug abuse in the area, there are simply not enough officers to patrol all 29 schools in the precinct.
The police say there have been a number of shooting and stabbing incidents. The SAPS have brought NGOs to schools and distributed pamphlets to raise awareness about drug abuse, however 50% of all drug arrests in Gauteng were made in Eldorado Park and there are over 2000 such arrests per year. The DA was also told that the community’s eight secondary schools, each with over 1200 learners, all have drug problems.
Patrols are currently being undertaken at identified hotspot schools but the police officers are under-resourced during peak times (mornings and afternoons when schools start and end).
Eldorado Park is just one community among many in South Africa battling to end the violence which has had an adverse impact on its children. Without the national government’s intervention, this battle cannot be won.
The SAPS could do more to ensure safety but they need the resources to do so. A Safe Schools call centre modelled on the DA’s Western Cape one would be very beneficial to the community of Eldorado Park and the national government must seriously consider replicating it in other provinces.
We reiterate our call to President Cyril Ramaphosa to urgently respond to school violence through a collaborative effort by various government departments and South Africans can join this call by signing our petition at https://protectourchildren.co.za/. Our children’s wellbeing and safety should never be compromised. Their right to a safe learning environment must be upheld and the DA will strive to ensure this.