SADTU WESTERN CAPE STATEMENT ON THE FATAL STABBING OF A LEARNER AT ZISUKHANYO SECONDARY SCHOOL
16 November 2023
The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) in the Western Cape expresses its sadness at the terrible news we received yesterday afternoon (15 November 2023) of a Grade 10 learner who was fatally stabbed by a fellow Grade 11 learner of Zisukhanyo Secondary School in the Nyanga Branch.
It is alleged that the incident happened after morning briefings, just before school started with exams. SADTU offers our sincere condolences to the bereaved family as well as the school community during this trying time. No one deserves to lose a child to death and especially not in such circumstances.
We have witnessed an alarming increase in the number of incidents of violence in schools within the province in the form of bullying, stabbings, and shootings over the last couple of years. Three years ago, a teacher was fatally shot on the school premises in Phillipi. These incidents clearly indicate that schools are no longer the safe havens they are supposed to be.
To ensure the safety of schools, SADTU calls upon the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) to provide schools with properly trained security personnel. We once more reiterate our call for dedicated psychosocial services in schools. The schools are in dire need of infrastructure that can detect weapons that are brought into school premises by education workers, learners, and community members. Large class sizes make it impossible for teachers to recognise the needs of individual learners, some of whom succumbed to suicide because of bullying at schools.
In line with SADTU’s “I am School Fan Campaign”, we appeal to the MECs for Safety and Education in the province to work with us to create safer and more secure environments at schools in order for schools to be effective. Over and above, SADTU believes that violence does not emanate nor end at school but is a societal issue. The violence observed in schools is indicative of violence within communities, where criminals have become extremely comfortable and arrogant terrorising our schools with impunity.
We therefore call upon all stakeholders in education, especially parents, to be involved in schools in their neighborhoods. All caring community members have a duty to make schools free from vandalism, violence against learners and education workers and to keep schools clean and safe.
We call upon the Justice Department to ensure that such young criminals are deterred from future criminal activity to serve as a lesson for those who think that such activities would be tolerated, as well as bringing solace to the grieving family.
ISSUED BY: SADTU Western Cape Provincial Secretariat