By Mariette Pittaway, DA MPL in the Free State Provincial Legislature:
The DA calls for calm after panic erupted at several schools in Bloemfontein after a learner at Petunia Secondary School was assaulted by members from a rival gang.
The SAPS has been deployed to restore order. The DA commends the SAPS for their speedy response.
According the SAPS, allegations that several gang related murders have taken place remain unconfirmed.
Today’s events follow a gang violence related incident on Friday where a grade 11 learner was stabbed several times by a grade 10 learner from a rival gang. The 17 year-old accused was to appear in court today.
Following today’s disruptions and the potential threat by gangs to disrupt schooling in future, I will submit written questions to Education MEC, Tate Makgoe, to ascertain what measures the department have taken to improve security at schools that may be under threat from gang violence.
Gang violence has no place in our schools and no place in our communities.
Today’s school disruptions must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.
I will also submit written questions to the MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Mathabo Leeto and the MEC for Social Development, Sisi Ntombela, to enquire after the provincial government’s rehabilitation and youth development programmes in the fight against gangsterism in the province.
Gangsterism deny youths the opportunity to become successful and prosperous individuals. Gang-related violence and drug abuse destroy families and communities and a coordinated effort is needed to turn the tide on this scourge gripping our communities.
A solid basic education and a growing economy, coupled with effective youth development and rehabilitation programmes, are the only sure way to tackle gangsterism. Where the DA governs we make resources available to fight gangsterism through such a multi-pronged approach.