How many more lives must be lost for GPG to implement stringent safety measures in and around schools?

Issued by Sergio Isa Dos Santos MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education
16 Apr 2024 in Press Statements

Note to editors: Please find English soundbite by Sergio Isa Dos Santos MPL.

The Gauteng Provincial Government’s (GPG) inability to implement stricter safety measures to ensure the safety of learners during school outings has resulted in more loss of life.

In a shocking incident, two boy learners from Daveyton Skills School in Benoni tragically died on Monday, 15 April 2024, after drowning during a discipline camp at Hennops River near Centurion.

It is alleged that, following the conclusion of activities on Monday afternoon, a learner ran towards a nearby river. A second learner attempted to bring him back, but regrettably, both learners drowned.

This incident comes on the heels of many tragic events that have occurred since the beginning of the 2024 academic year, raising serious concerns about the safety of learners inside and outside our schools in the province.

The string of incidents includes:

1. On 20 January 2024, a Grade 7 learner at Laerskool Queenswood in Pretoria allegedly drowned during a school excursion.

2. On 1 February 2024, a Grade 6 learner from Modiselle Primary School in Ga-Rankuwa, north of Tshwane, passed away after allegedly falling off a moving scholar transport bus.

3. On 6 February 2024, a Grade 1 girl learner from Mandlethu Primary School in Tsakane, Brakpan, passed away after allegedly consuming biscuits bought from a local spaza shop.

4. On 7 February 2024, a Grade 8 boy learner from Oakdale Secondary School in Ennerdale, South of Johannesburg, died after being stabbed in a fight with another Grade 10 boy learner, who was also involved in the stabbing incident.

5. On 16 February 2024, a 13-year-old learner from Primrose Primary School shot and injured the school principal.

6. On 29 March 2024, a scholar transport carrying learners from Sandringham High School collided with another vehicle in Alexandra, resulting in six learners sustaining injuries.

7. On 9 April 2024, a shooting incident occurred outside Primrose High School in Ekurhuleni, causing panic among pupils and teachers.

The Gauteng Provincial Government is to blame for all these unfortunate events because it has failed to learn anything from similar cases in the past and ignored calls for the implementation of stringent measures for learners and, by extension, teachers and staff.

MECs for Education, Matome Chiloane, Roads and Transport, Kedibone Diale Tlabela, and Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko, could do more to prevent these incidents from occurring rather than issuing statements of regret and condolences.

The DA demands a coordinated intervention approach including all three departments and other key stakeholders to address the terrible situations that have resulted in the deaths, injuries, and trauma of learners.

The DA government believes that protecting learners is the key to their success, so it will not delay implementing this strategy, which was long overdue when voted to govern Gauteng on 29 May.