Pubdate: Mon, 09 Jun 2003
Source: Daily News, The (South Africa)
Copyright: 2003 The Daily News.
Author: Zukile Majowa


The recent spate of fatal shootings and stabbings which had been witnessed 
at some schools around the province were drug related, but identifying drug 
sellers was outside the jurisdiction of the education department, said 
provincial education minister Narend Singh.

Singh said this at the launch of the advocacy campaign on school 
discipline, safety and security at Princess Magogo stadium in KwaMashu at 
the weekend.

The campaign is a joint venture between the provincial education, welfare 
departments and the eThekwini Municipality's health and police departments.

The advocacy campaign is aimed at inculcating a culture of discipline, 
safety and security and information about drugs.

Singh said though his department was determined to clamp down on schoolyard 
violence, it had no jurisdiction outside school premises - hence he was 
making moves to form a working partnership with the safety and security 

The two departments are scheduled to convene a meeting with stakeholders 
this month to address the problem and hopefully come up with a prac-tical 

Singh said he had "called for police to be authorised to conduct random 
searches at schools".

But pupils from Bhekisisa High School, who along with more than 70 other 
schools in the Durban Metro, attended the launch, said searching pupils had 
already proved to be a failure as authorities tended to search male pupils 
only for weapons and drugs while girls act as drug runners.

The pupils said fellow drug-selling pupils were able to evade the existing 
security network at schools by giving drugs to girls, normally those who 
hawk sweets to fellow pupils.

These, in turn, smuggle the drugs in their sweet packets or lunch boxes. 
The dealer would then meet the girl inside the school, collects his stuff 
and continue to trade.

The minister was hard on parents who "abdicate their roles and 
responsibilities and leave teachers to risk their lives.

"It is shameful that some parents regard schools as dumping grounds for 
their troublesome children."

The education minister said he had called for police to be authorised to 
conduct random searches in schools and show no mercy to those found 
carrying dangerous weapons.

"Pupils who are involved in drug abuse and drug trafficking should be 
expelled when caught and be taken for rehabilitation," he said.

Within a space of one month three pupils were shot and kill-ed in 
Pietermaritzburg and Eshowe and two others had been stabbed in separate 
incidents in Chatsworth and Newlands.
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