Khume Ramulifho MPL
Spokesperson on Education
The DA has noted with concern that 1 043 learners lost their lives in 2012 through violence, accidents, illness and suicide.
In reply to my questions, Gauteng Education MEC Barbara Creecy indicated that the information is based on the Annual Survey data collected by the education department on learner deaths and the causes of death for 2012.
There were 101 deaths recorded in Gauteng due to violence, highlighting the increase in violence at schools and society more broadly. While 269 learners lost their lives as a result of accidents, 604 learners lost theirs lives due to illness and 69 learners committed suicide.
It is also concerning to note that 269 learners deaths were due to accidents, especially in the light of a bus driver responsible for scholar transport in the West Rand allegedly drinking and driving while on duty. Equally, gangs targeting schools seem to be increasing in Gauteng.
The department will be conducting another survey for 2013. This data must inform plans to prevent causes of learners deaths in Gauteng.
The DA urges the department to strengthen partnerships with communities to ensure the safety of learners.
This requires strict actions from the department to ensure that the risk to learners’ lives are drastically reduced.