Pubdate: Wed, 02 Jun 2004
Source: Cape Times (South Africa)
Copyright: 2004 Cape Times
Author: Babalo Ndenze


Police made an "unannounced" raid on a school in Khayelitsha yesterday as 
part of the neighbourhood's crime prevention programme to rid schools of 
violence and drugs.

Police conducted the raid at Esangweni Senior Secondary School in Kuyasa, 
Khayelitsha after the school's governing body and teachers alerted them 
about a number of violent incidents at the school.

The school's acting principal Nomzamo Mengcane said the search was the 
first of its kind at the school and more raids would definitely follow if 
there was a need.

"It was an unannounced search because of an incident that occurred at the 
school. Kids came to school with dangerous weapons. In one incident a 
student came to school with a knife.

"There was also a group of gangsters outside who probably knew the boy and 
they went into school buses.

"You see, the learners think they are not safe. We and the governing body 
as a whole feel that something has to be done to ensure their safety. I 
think this is very positive because these incidents do take place and we 
felt the learners' safety was being jeopardised. We are not trained to 
handle gangsters - all we are used to is chalk and a board," said Mengcane.

She said the raids were not only about protecting learners inside the 
school premises but also in the neighbourhood.

"A lot of learners can expect to experience problems outside because they 
don't have transport to go home," she said.

Mengcane added that two girls from the school were nearly raped on their 
way home after being held up at gunpoint.

She said, however, that the girls managed to escape the gun-wielding criminals.

"It's not only about the searches, it is also educational. Police come over 
to the school and educate learners about safety," said Mengcane.

Lunga Ntsinde of the Khayelitsha police station said they targeted eight 
classes that were "pin-pointed" by teachers at the school.

"We are getting problems where kids are stabbing each other and doing drugs 
but we didn't find anything today.

"We also have police who go to the schools to educate children," said Ntsinde.

He added that they would not be conducting any searches soon due to the 
exams that are currently taking place.

Police spokesman Eugene Sitzer said the searches were part of Khayelitsha's 
crime prevention programme to safeguard students in schools.

"Every station commissioner is responsible for people in that community. 
They try to look at specific tendencies in the area and it's up to that 
station to address them," said Sitzer.
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