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Gang violence threatening education

Pupils from schools in Manenberg say they are too afraid to go to school because of gang violence.

Pupils from schools in Manenberg say they are too afraid to go to school because of gang violence. Picture: Renee de Villiers/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Some Manenberg pupils say they are too afraid to go to school because of ongoing gang violence in the community.

But the Western Cape Education Department insists police visibility at a number of so-called 'high risk' schools will be jacked up over the next two weeks.

The intervention comes after a court order brought by an education lobby group was granted last week, which compels the department to step up security.

A learner at the Silverstream Secondary School says her final school year is going to be difficult if the deadly gang turf war continues.

"Our lives are still in danger because we have to face all of this every day. We can't go to school and we can't stay for after-classes because our lives are in danger. Some kids don't even go to school because their parents don't want them walking to school."

Meanwhile, non-government organisation (NGO) Equal Education has called for a lasting solution to provide adequate safety at gang-stricken schools.

The NGO's Lisa Draga says increased policing for the next two weeks will bring relief to pupils and teachers.

"What is really required is that all the relevant role players, including the South African Police Service (SAPS), the Western Cape Education Department and the Community Safety Department form some kind of comprehensive and collective response to the issue."

Silverstream Secondary School's Linden Adonis says absenteeism has spike due to sporadic shootings over the past week.

"I should have 27 pupils in my grade 6D class but only six arrive for class on a daily basis."