Safety on the agenda in Manenberg

Donald Grant met with Manenberg parents & local police to discuss the safety of school children.

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 - Western Cape Education MEC Donald Grant met Manenberg teachers and local police on Thursday night to discuss intensifying security at schools in the community.

Manenberg schools were closed for most of this week due to ongoing gang violence in the area.

Some pupils have said that while they were scared they would still rather be in the classroom.

A grade three pupil said he missed his classmates.

"I'm just going to watch my cartoons," he said, adding that he was bored at home.

Local police fear with schools being closed, some pupils may get up to mischief.

Grant said more police will be stationed at schools from Monday, when teaching is expected to resume.

"There is a sufficient police presence at the beginning of the day and when the schools close. But there are insufficient resources during school time. We're going to arrange for additional law enforcement officials to be at the affected schools from Monday," said Grant.

Meanwhile, Manenberg parents believe school is the safest place for their children as shootings continue on the streets and outside homes.

Yusuf Hendricks, a local parent, said it's not fair that his child has to go to school under dangerous conditions.

Hendricks said keeping his daughter at home was not ideal but he understood why this was being done.

He said "gangsters shoot near schools" and sometimes the children are caught in the crossfire.

At least 12,000 children have been affected by the decision to temporarily shut the schools down.

ZILLE'S OPEN LETTER

Earlier this week, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille wrote an open letter to Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa requesting an urgent meeting to discuss the spike in gang violence in the area.

She wants to meet the minister to find a solution.

At least 30 people, including children, have been killed in the crossfire as gangs fight over control for territory.

Gang violence has also spread to areas such as Khayelitsha and Nyanga as many schoolchildren are forced to join gangs.