Sunday, September 06, 2009

Rape and murder stalk South Africa’s playgrounds and classrooms

This is the South Africa that ridicules the white refugee. It is a country out of control.

Related:
More evidence of white South Africans suffering race persecution in South Africa - Principals and teachers living in fear

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A recent survey in KwaZulu-Natal, Zuma’s home province, revealed there were 11 murders, 280 rapes and more than 2,500 violent assaults in its schools last year. A further 3,000 cases of drug possession were recorded, a pattern repeated across the country.

From The Times Online (UK)

In a moment of terror frozen in time, the grainy CCTV picture shows a teenager, high on drugs, stabbing another young man in the head with a knife.

The shots are all the more chilling for having been filmed in a classroom in one of Cape Town’s most notorious townships. In the corner of the frame, pupils as young as 12 look on as violence once again engulfs a South African school.

In one of the biggest but least talked about challenges to President Jacob Zuma’s new government, schools have descended into a spiral of crime that has seen murder and rape in playgrounds and classrooms.

As terrified teachers leave the profession in large numbers, security in schools is being beefed up to include police sniffer dog patrols and hand-held metal detectors. Psychologists are being drafted in to help staff to cope with trauma.

A recent survey in KwaZulu-Natal, Zuma’s home province, revealed there were 11 murders, 280 rapes and more than 2,500 violent assaults in its schools last year. A further 3,000 cases of drug possession were recorded, a pattern repeated across the country.

Alcohol and drug abuse are rampant. In the Free State, bars close to schools were reported to be selling alcohol and drugs to pupils who would often arrive drunk and armed with guns for their classes. The province also reported playground murders and the seizure of ammunition and knives.

Throughout the country there are daily reports of shocking violence. Two 60-year-old women died after they were allegedly doused with petrol and set alight by pupils at Manhlenga high school in Manguzi, KwaZulu-Natal. Reports suggest the children believed the women had cast a spell on them.

A teenager from Thornwood secondary school near Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal, was sentenced in Durban for murdering a teacher who had “humiliated” him in front of his fellow pupils. A 14-year-old from the New Drift high school near Paarl, in the Western Cape, appeared in court after stabbing a fellow pupil in the heart after an argument on a school bus. Also in Durban, mobile phone videos showing the rape of a schoolgirl were circulated in playgrounds, leading to the arrest of three schoolboys.

In Cape Town there have been at least 60 stabbings in schools in the past three months. The murder of a headmistress, shot in the head in her office, has led to calls for a permanent police presence in schools.

According to Avril Knott-Craig, chairwoman of a Quaker campaign for nonviolent schools in Cape Town, the onslaught could leave its mark for generations. “Children learn from their environment and in particular that violence appears to be the most effective way to solve problems and so, when they are angry, they resort to fighting, bullying, stabbing, shooting and other forms of assault, just as their adult counterparts do,” she said.

Teaching unions claim that depression and anxiety are becoming common among teachers. In township schools it is not uncommon for 30% of teachers to be off work with trauma-related stress.

According to some critics, tough government measures, including head teachers given search-and-seize powers for guns, knives and drugs, do not seem to have had much impact.

Some heads have admitted that they are afraid to use their powers for fear of retribution.

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