Gangs force kids to skip school

Almost half of pupils at Edendale Primary School are absent due to the ongoing violence.

Pagad led a motorcade in Manenberg and Heideveld against gangsterism and drugs on 31 July 2013. Picture: Graeme Raubenheimer/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Some primary school learners in Manenberg say they are scared to walk to school in case they get hit by a stray bullet.

Many of the 14 schools in the drug-infested area are experiencing high absenteeism rates.

Extra police officers have been deployed to the suburb as rival gangs are shooting indiscriminately.

Edendale Primary School principal Melvin Fourie says about half of his learners and two teachers were absent on Thursday.

Fourie admits this has become the norm over the past two months as the school is located in an area which often sees rival gangs clashing with each other.

A few grade six learners say they are sick and tired of gangsterism, adding they find it difficult to concentrate on school work.

They say walking to and from school is dangerous.

Meanwhile, Community Safety MEC Dan Plato and Premier Helen Zille have called for the army to be deployed in gang ridden areas.

But the Presidency denied saying South Africa was not a military state.

Over 30 people, including children, have been killed in gang violence over the last few months.

At the same time, the ANC has accused Plato of being in cahoots with gangs in the province.

The party alleges that Plato met with gangs in an attempt to manufacture information against some of its leaders, but Plato denies this.