Tumelo Waga Dibakwane
RECENT attacks at schools in the province, where pupils attack and kill educators had resulted in the Mpumalanga department of Community Safety and Security Liaison, the Mpumalanga Department of Education and the Department of Correctional Services joining hands to fight this evil.
The most dangerous schools within the borders of Ehlanzeni District were identified and a crime awareness campaign was kicked off with the aim of showing learners the danger of committing crime.
The first school to be identified was Ngwane Combined School located at Umjindini, which had recorded lot of violence towards educators, bullying of other learners by fellow students and in several accession learners were found in position of dagga and dangerous objects. The second school to be exposed to the campaign and counseling for alleged violent behaviour and participating in political riots. Learners in this school use drugs and teenage pregnancies are rife.
According to Robert Mkhwanazi, coordinator of the campaign from the department of Community Safety and Security Liaison, the environment for learning and teaching was no longer conducive in both schools, hence this intervention. “As a department we saw it necessary to intervene and to restore order to create a better environment for learning and teaching” Mr Mkhwanazi said.
The campaign started with a visit to Barberton Youth Correctional Centre, housing 456 offenders aged between 18 to 25 years, convicted for serious offenses. During the visit to the centre, learners were taken to the cells to experience on life behind bars. John Maluka (22), a convicted murderer told learners about life behind bars.
One the learners in attendance said, “I use to hear that life in prison is tough but what is saw today is more than tougher, where they sleep, the way they get their food, everything is just scary here. I will tell even my friend to stop causing problems at school, because they will regret.”
The Department of Correctional Services is committed to working together with other stakeholders to combat crime.