South Africa: Nationwide Safe Schools Call Centres Will Help Keep Children Safe

press release

The statement below follows a visit by DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education, Ian Ollis MP, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Nomsa Marchesi MP, and Western Cape Education MEC, Debbie Schafer MPL, to the Western Cape Education Department's Safe Schools call centre.

Please find attached soundbites in English by DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education, Ian Ollis MP, and in Xhosa and Sotho by DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Nomsa Marchesi MP. Photos of the event can be viewed here, here, here and here.

Today, DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education, Ian Ollis MP, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Nomsa Marchesi MP, and Western Cape Education MEC, Debbie Schafer MPL, visited the Western Cape Education Department's Safe Schools call centre.

The DA has repeatedly called on the national government to bring together all the relevant departments in an effort to curb violence at schools. The Safe Schools call centre has proved to be successful in doing this and the government must roll it out to all provinces.

The call centre recorded 1034 cases of crime in the 2017/18 financial year, including 27 cases of weapon possession and 214 cases of gang-related shootings and 595 assault cases. There was a 1.6% decrease in crimes reported to the call centre.

The call centre also responds to other concerns involving childrens' safety including abuse and gang threats, on and off school premises. For example,while the delegation was there, a young learner called in to report an unnatural death she had witnessed.

On a daily basis, between 40 and 75 calls a day are made to the call centre and can be routed to emergency and medical services in an efficient manner.

Establishing similar centres in other provinces is one of our seven school safety demands. South Africans can still co-sign our letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa, calling for an urgent interdepartmental response to school violence and unsafe schools at https://protectourchildren.co.za.

It is high time that we put the safety of our learners first. Children should not have to choose between getting and education and their safety.

President Ramaphosa can prove that he cares about the safety and well-being of our learners by responding positively to our call for a nationwide Safe Schools call centre.

Ian Ollis MP

DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education

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