By Rebone Motlhokwane
Parents of pupils at TM Letlhake Secondary School in Bekkersdal, Westonaria, are concerned about their children’s safety after increasing violent gang fights at the school. Parents said they do not feel that their children are safe going to the school and were uncertain whether their children will come back home from school or not.
On September 14, a pupil was stabbed to death and four injured after a fight broke out. In the latest incident, which took place on Monday, a learner had a brick thrown at her head. On August 26, a pupil was badly injured after being stabbed, he is still receiving treatment at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.
Parents also said in July, pupils had beaten up the deputy principal of the school, who is now on sick leave.
“These pupils who mostly get injured during these fights are innocent ones,” said Ramonate,” said Abere Ramonate, a parent.
Another parent, said, government needs something about the situation at the school, or the school be shut down, before she gets a call that her child is dead.
“It’s either the government does something about this situation at this school or the school be shut down before I get a call from the school that my child is dead and died inside this school,” said the parent.
The School Governing Body (SGB) said that the reason for these fights is gangsterism, tribalism and money lending in the school.
“There are loan sharks in the school who borrow other children money and when they want their money back, they want it with interest and when the other one doesn’t have, they stab him not only that, but boys also fight for girls and vice versa,” said the SGB.
They say they have involved the community policing forum and established a task team of parents to ensure the safety for students.
“We have asked the parents to be involved in searching the school bags of pupils every morning, and they even agreed that they will take turns in coming and now the code of conduct is also working,” said the SGB
Gauteng Department of Education spokesperson, Steve Mabona, said one of the fights had led to a pupil being fatally stabbed.
“The Gauteng Department of Education regrettably confirms that there was a fight at the school in question, which took place on Wednesday,14 September 2022, and led to one learner being stabbed to death. This incident led to the disruption of teaching and learning at the school,” said Mabona.
Mabona further said there is a problem of ill-discipline in the school. “As the department, we will continue with the process of disciplinary hearings against about 50 learners identified in the misconduct. These suspected learners were suspended yesterday [Tuesday],” said Mabona.