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SA: Hoosain: Launch of the Safer Schools Committees (13/06/2008)

13th June 2008

By: Site Administrator
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Date: 13 June 2008
Source: Eastern Cape Provincial Government
Title: SA: Hoosain: Launch of the Safer Schools Committees

Let me first take this opportunity to thank all the runners who participated in our Fun Run Against Crime, Drug Abuse, Xenophobia and Gender-Based Violence this morning.

I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to the parents, teachers, learners and the community for this show of commitment to this nation-building project which seeks to ensure that our schools are not 'ivory towers' but centres of community excellence.

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Our schools have become hunting grounds for criminals and it is incumbent upon all of us to creative conducive conditions of teaching and learning in this province, particularly in this area.

We know that very often our children are either victims or perpetrators of crime in schools and sometimes are being used by adults to commit crime, particularly drug trafficking.

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As a result, we have a challenge of the prevalence of violent crime which continues to haunt our people particularly the vulnerable groups such as youth, women, children and the elderly who constitute the majority of the population of our country because of the dangerous weapons that school children have.

As we celebrate the 32nd anniversary of June 16 Youth Uprising we need to recommit ourselves in deepening youth participation in the reconstruction and development of our country.

Our first step is to educate the youth about nation-building and their role in building a caring society.

Guided by our Provincial Crime Prevention Strategy we believe that young people have a role to play in our war against crime.

We have a duty of teaching these learners about the risks of participating in criminal activities and encourage them to use their energies productively in defence of our people and our constitution.

Youth and crime prevention

As leaders of tomorrow you must start growing your knowledge about safety and security matters and be on the front-line in the battle against crime. This will help you to be successful in school and in life - as a result, less likely to be involved in crime.

Crime prevention in South Africa is based on the principles of community policing which involves partnerships between the community and the South African Police Service (SAPS).

We are now in a process of establishing street and village committees throughout the province and I would like to see young people actively involved in such programmes.

We will soon embark on a process of recruiting people, especially youth as marshals during the 2009 Confederations Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup. This process will include screening of all individuals involved and the Eastern Cape is expected to recruit 11 540 marshals for low-risk matches, 7 692 for normal-risk matches and 5 770 for high-risk matches.

This means our youth should remain far from criminal activities in order to benefit.

Drug abuse

Today, we are urging the youth to refrain from drug abuse which mostly results on serious criminal activities which prevent the development of our youth. We must avoid being used as a market for drug distribution. Let us say 'NO' to drug abuse.

Xenophobia

Recently, we have witnessed shameful scenes of xenophobia in certain parts of our country where black South Africans were attacking their fellow Africans.

I am convinced that we can permanently deal with this problem through educating young people about our history and our responsibility to other Africans who have fled their countries of birth due to lack of peace and stability.

Gender-based violence

As we continue to work together in building this new caring society we have a responsibility to educate our youth, especially young men to respect their female counterparts as that will go a long way in strengthening relations in our communities.

We must inculcate a culture of mutual respect and unconditional protection of women and children.

Safer schools

Today, we have a challenge of ill-discipline that is prevalent in our schools where both teachers and learners feel insecure.

This event marks the start of the Department of Safety and Liaison's programme of establishing School Safety Committees in line with the resolutions of the Safer Schools Summit, which we hosted here in East London last year.

These committees are constituted by principals (convenor), teachers responsible for school safety, learners, School Governing Bodies, Community Police Forums (CPFs) and SAPS. Their role is to conduct continuous assessment of the schools environment, develop plans and programmes to improve safety and security in schools.

Today we are launching the first School Safety Committees in the Eastern Cape for Buffalo City for the following schools:
* Archie Velile (Dimbaza)
* Kei Road Combined
* Moses Mabhida
* JF Mati
* Masixole
* Ulwazi
* Sithembiso
* Sinikiwe (Mdantsane)
* Qaqamba
* Greenpoint and
* Uviwe (East London).

These schools form part of the 40 pilot schools in the province which were identified by the Department of Education (DoE) and needing urgent attention due to the recent incidents of crime and violence within those schools.

In implementing our summit resolutions we are further guided by our Provincial Growth and Development Plan (PGDP) targets, Provincial Crime Prevention Strategy (PCPS), African National Congress (ANC) December 2007 National Conference resolutions, three of the 24 Apex Priorities which include:
* implementing Special Crime Combating and security initiatives
* partnerships and communication of fighting crime
* reducing the number of cases pending trial.

Our strategies are based on multi-agency collaboration and mass mobilisation in line with our Cluster Priorities and aspirations of the masses of our people, especially in dealing with contact and social crimes which continue to undermine their freedom and democracy.

We must say no to gender-based violence, xenophobia and to start building the first line of defence for the vulnerable groups in our society through a community-driven and multi-agency collaboration.

We know that many people want to make an impact but lack the knowledge or motivation to take actions to do so, that is why today we have assembled here to launch these committees which are designed to give all stakeholders an opportunity to build and maintain a culture of peace within schools and communities.

If we want to uproot crime in our communities we need to come together and hold hands in fighting this poison that is slowly engulfing our young people.
Through sport activities, students transform their relationship, manage their anger and speak out about issues, thus becoming part of the solution instead of the problem.

Conclusion

Let us continue to work with our schools and the community in pursuit of peace, security and comfort in our society.

We want you to be able to come up with your own programmes to your schools and create your own vision for peace that will be exchanged with other areas. This will help our learners to develop their self-confidence, motivation, desire to participate, mutual respect, improve communication and build their life skills.

We invite you to be part of creating this new conversation for peace and changing the way we all look at our future.

I thank you.

Issued by: Department of Safety and Liaison, Eastern Cape Provincial Government
13 June 2008


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