Today marks the start of the annual 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign, yet safe spaces for South African children continue to diminish.
The crimes statistics for the second quarter of 2022/23 revealed the horrifying reality of 83 rapes and 19 murders committed on the premises of educational facilities, including primary, secondary and high schools, day care facilities, special schools and tertiary institutions. There were 6 rapes at day care centres, 5 at special needs schools and tertiary institutions and 67 at schools.
The DA will submit parliamentary questions to determine how many of these heinous incidents involved learners, teachers and staff.
Given South Africa’s pervasiveness of gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) and the revelation from Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) earlier this year that 90 037 girls aged 10 to 19 years gave birth between March 2021 to April 2022, it is extremely disturbing that 258 cases of assault/grievous bodily harm (GBH) and 22 cases of attempted murder occurred on educational premises.
Given the 411 gang-related incidents reported the Department of Basic Education in 2022, it is clear that schools have become a battleground.
The DA will also ask the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, how many of South Africa’s schools have received training on the National School Safety Framework (NSSF) and how implementation is monitored.
Decisive intervention is urgently needed – a 16 Day-campaign once a year will do little to change the circumstances of millions of women and children trapped in daily violence. The ANC government needs to move beyond beautiful speeches and empty promises to boots on the ground implementation of programmes that will equip women and children to break free from the tormentors they face every single day. Without political will from the governing party, the bloodbath will continue.