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WCED adds voice to calls for army deployment in gang-stricken areas

Education MEC Debbie Schafer says gang warfare has had a direct impact on schools, teachers and learners.

FILE: Western Cape MEC for Education Debbie Schafer. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has added its voice to calls for the army to be deployed to gang-stricken communities.

Suburbs like Mitchells Plain, Factreton and Bonteheuwel have seen a spike in gang-related shootings in recent months.

The department has issued a circular to all schools in the province, requesting that they review safety plans, specifically regarding effective access control measures and contingency plans in emergency situations.

Education MEC Debbie Schafer says gang warfare has had a direct impact on schools, teachers and learners.

She says while schools have been urged to beef-up safety plans, nothing can compensate for a lack of policing resources.

Schafer’s spokesperson Jessica Shelver said: “Bring back specialised unit and deploy the army on a temporary basis to try and stabilise these areas. The reality is that without more police presence, gang violence cannot be brought under control.”

Last week, two men were shot and wounded near Imperial Primary School in Mitchells Plain, leaving learners and their parents fearing for their safety.

During a briefing in Cape Town about two weeks ago, Police Minister Bheki Cele reiterated the military will not be deployed to Western Cape communities.

He says South African National Defence Force members are not trained in policing.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)