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The Department’s MEC Mr Xolile Nqatha headed to Humansdorp on the 7th of November alongside with some officials of the department to launch the Safety Month. On pursuit to address the issue of gangsterism that seems to have spiked, despite having been an issue in the past. Present were various stakeholders namely Social Development, Department of Education, SGB members, Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Eastern Cape Liquor Board, Faith Based Organizations, CPF structures, NGOs, Councillors and the South African National Police Service (SAPS). The event started off with a political briefing at the K9 Unit, followed by a Community engagement session and ended off with a visit to Humansdorp Secondary School (HSS).
Some of the issues that were highlighted by various stakeholders that were present include overcrowding in the school, as well as the shortage of staff due to a large influx of students as the school is meant to accommodate 700 learners however it currently has close to 2000 learners. Off these students, 42 have been identified to be part of gangs.
The possession of weapons inside the school premises was also raised as a matter of concern. The school’s SGB member Mr Alexandra also stated that the lack of solid foundation in homes is a contributing factor because parents are victims, resulting to gang leaders becoming role models to children from a young age. He also pleaded with the department for collaboration and inclusivity in addressing issues as they are at the forefront.
The Department of Education’s circuit manager Ms Tokwe stated that they are currently reviewing the school’s Code of Conduct and that this is to assist in putting regulatory measures in place. She also indicated that they have crafted an evacuation plan for the purpose of fights that may occur within the school. There is a centre that has been identified for the purpose of isolation and rehabilitation to be conducted within a duration of 8 weeks to ensure that the gang members get individual attention and full access to the rehab programme, she stated.
Words by the MEC Honourable X. Nqatha
“The department has developed a drafted provincial drug master plan as a strategy to fight the escalating drug supply and related matters, and ensuring law enforcement, efficient, effective and responsiveness to drug related crime”. The MEC also emphasized that in order to achieve the desired results in renewing our country, all parties and stakeholders should work in a collaborative and integrated way.
By N. Tseuoa