Armed security at Roodepoort Primary School. Picture: ALON SKUY/THE TIMES
Armed security at Roodepoort Primary School. Picture: ALON SKUY/THE TIMES

SCHOOLS in the Western Cape have reportedly become breeding grounds for gangs with skollie recruiters masquerading as sweet vendors.

And police say they are investigating this sinister recruitment of pupils.

But a briefing of Western Cape provincial legislature members on the problem turned into an argument about who was responsible for pupil safety.

This happened at a joint education and community safety portfolio committee meeting briefing by deputy police provincial commissioner Major-General Thembisile Patekile and representatives of the province’s education and community safety departments.

Participants argued about who should take responsibility for the safety of children and teachers in high-crime areas.

The SAPS claimed it was not responsible as its mandate was patrolling around schools.

And Oscar Apollis‚ provincial manager of Safe Schools‚ run by the education department‚ claimed its only role was safety on school premises.

"The mandate of safety and security does not lie with the Western Cape education department‚ it lies with the department of community safety‚" Apollis said.

"Yes‚ we have a role to play," he said, but community safety should take the lead.

That prompted an apparently upset community safety department head Gideon Morris to say that if his department should take the lead‚ it should be given the funds.

"Schools Safe budget is with the education department‚ so if that needs to come to community safety‚ it’s something that we need to discuss‚" he said.

Pat Lekker‚ an ANC provincial legislature member, said departments should speak with one voice.

Education official‚ Naziem Shaik Ismaiel said community safety MEC Dan Plato had said at the meeting that a community-oriented approach to safety was needed.

"We don’t know who has the mandate for safety and security … nobody wants to take responsibility‚" he said.

Another ANC MPL‚ Theo Olivier‚ suggested the two departments and the police should meet to resolve the confusion.