The Department of Education in the Western Cape says its lawyers are studying a court order by Equal Education forcing it to provide armed guards to five schools affected by gang violence on the Cape Flats.
The order was issued last week and says the guards must be deployed by Monday or the schools would be closed.
On Sunday afternoon, education officials met representatives of the NGO funded by George Soros and the Ford Foundation, Equal Education, the police and other role-players to discuss the matter.
The department spokesperson, Bronagh Casey says, “The papers were served on Friday afternoon. We are very disappointed with how the process was dealt with from a legal perspective. Irrespective of the merits of this case, from a legal point of view the order was served on the department without adequate notice or opportunity to consult our legal team. Our legal team will now study the interim order and will provide advice.”
Violence in the area goes well beyond the capacity of the education department. Researchers say the marked spike gang violence could be related to turf wars resulting from the troubles of Czech fugative and crime boss, Radovan Krecjir.
A veteran gangster said in an interview recently: “You can’t control them [gangsters] any more. They smoke tik. It makes them super-people. This is the monster.”
Absenteeism has increased dramatically due to ongoing gang violence and sometimes only about 200 of 900 learners attend school.
South African police estimate about 100,000 gang members compete for turf and control of the drug trade in the Western Cape province, the bulk of them in the urban sprawl on Cape Town’s eastern outskirts, known as the Cape Flats.
Cape Town, where the DA opposition is in power, is known as the the crime hub of South Africa.
The gang warfare is frustrating efforts to rein in crime in a country where 15.609 homicides, or 30.9 per 100.000 people, occurred in the year ending March 2012, a rate that is more than six times that of the US.
It is still much lower than the murders on white farmers, currently at 36 per 100.000.