Manenberg learners stay away from school

Manenberg has recorded an increase in gang violence which has claimed several lives.

Manenberg residents carry white flags symbolising peace in a march against continuous gang violence in the area on 3 August 2013. Picture: Shamiela Fisher/EWN"

CAPE TOWN - University of Cape Town student volunteer body the Students' Health and Welfare Centres Organisation (Shawco), says it supports a stay-away by Manenberg pupils in demonstration against high levels of gang violence in the area.

Several people, mostly bystanders have been killed in the recent spike of violence between rival gangs in the community.

Earlier in August, caretaker at Sonderend Primary, Graham Japhta, was shot while locking the school gates.

The school has reported that only about 200 of 900 learners attended school last week.

Learners also stayed away from school on Wednesday in high hopes of a solution to the situation.

Shawco's Jonathan Hoffenberg says, "Shawco runs an afterschool program in Manenberg called the Star Project. Recently, two of our learners have lost their fathers in gang related shootings. So we are in solidarity with the schools of Manenberg."

Meanwhile, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille has written an open letter to the police minister seeking urgent talks about a "spike" in gang violence.

Several Cape Town communities have been plagued by gang violence in recent weeks.

In 2012, Zille asked for the army to be deployed in gang-ridden communities but her request was turned down.

Government said the army was not trained to deal with civilians.