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Wednesday, 17 April, 2002
WCED responds to Cape Flats violence
Statement by André Gaum, Western Cape Education Minister
Gang violence disrupted schooling at Hillwood Primary School in Lavender Hill this week when gangs fought with firearms around the school.
The WCED's Safe Schools Programme is currently working with the school, the police and other agencies to ensure the safety of the children and staff, and to stabilise the situation in the area.
In a separate incident, a stray bullet from a shooting incident in Hanover Park, injured a female learner at Crystal Secondary School. There was no gang-related fighting in Hanover Park at the time. The origin of the shot is still unknown.
Surgeons at Groote Schuur Hospital removed a bullet from the learner's skull in a four-hour operation yesterday (Tuesday, 16 April 2002). Her condition last night was stable.
We view these incidents in the most serious light, and condemn the perpetrators in the strongest possible terms.
I visited the learner in Groote Schuur Hospital today (Wednesday, 17 April 2002) to offer my sympathies. The WCED is investigating the incident fully.
Safe Schools staff and schools are implementing Safe Schools procedures in response to the gang violence in Lavender Hill, and we will continue to monitor the situation carefully in conjunction with other agencies.
The latest round of gang violence in Lavender Hill started during the Easter school holidays.
On Monday (15 April 2002), gangs fired on one another across a sports field in front of the school, and again behind the school building.
The incidents were reported to our South Metropole Education Management and Development Centre and the Safe Schools Call Centre.
Safe Schools informed Operation Slasher, the police unit responsible for dealing with gangs. South African Police Services arranged intensive patrols by public order police units in the vicinity of Hillwood Primary.
Safe Schools has organised trauma debriefing for staff and learners at Hillwood Primary, with assistance from the WCED's Kenilworth and Fish Hoek clinics.
According to our Safe Schools coordinator, shooting incidents continued yesterday morning (Tuesday, 16 April 2002).in the vicinity of Hillwood and Levana primary schools in Lavender Hill.
Many parents kept their children at home. Visible police presence is helping to restore calm to the area, although the situation remains tense. We are hoping that a continued police presence today will assist in enabling children to return to school.
We understand that the police will deploy other units in the area, which will help to ensure the safety of our learners and staff, and the local community as a whole.
Safe Schools will join other agencies involved in community safety on April 23 to discuss the issue of continuing gang violence in Lavender Hill.
Our Safe Schools programme encourages schools to follow strict procedures when confronted with gang violence in their areas. The safety of our learners and staff is of paramount importance. We will continue working with all agencies to ensure their safety.
Inquiries: André Gaum 082-550-3938
The Communications Directorate
Western Cape Education Department
Private Bag X9114
Cape Town 8000
Tel: (021) 467-2531
Fax: (021) 467-2363
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