Scores of violent teenage gangs are operating in Cape Flats schools – and even the authorities admit they do not know the extent of the problem.
A Daily Voice investigation can now also reveal that the violence is escalating after yet another innocent learner was stabbed in a revenge attack after the stoning to death of a 15-year-old boy.
The 16-year-old pupil was left with a knife wound to the buttocks after a tit-for-tat attack outside a violence-wracked Delft school on Thursday, and shockingly the suspects are 16 and 18.
The Department of Education on Thursday night insisted it is aware of the disturbing rise in the number of baby-faced gangsters carrying out child-on-child violence.
But they are powerless to stop the scourge of brutality and senseless slaughtering.
On Thursday night, the latest attack prompted the province’s safety and security boss to visit the blood-soaked streets of Delft.
“I am distressed to see many young people are choosing violence as a means of solving their problems,” says MEC Dan Plato. “I believe that parents, guardians and communities have an important role to play in the prevention of incidents and to guide our young citizens in making the right choices.”
Former mayor Plato says his department will now step in to form a local community safety action plan to address gangsterism with the assistance of police, social development, the Education Department, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport and the City of Cape Town.
“We will be implementing a local community safety action plan to address gangsterism within the Delft community this year,” says Plato. “It will be conducted by the established Delft Stakeholder Forum, which is set to meet next month to prioritise challenges in terms of youth involved in gangsterism and drug abuse in the area.”
But Nariman Khan, the Safer School Co-ordinator, says they do not know of any bendes operating in schools.
“We are not aware of any gangs operating within our schools. The problem the department faces is that no learners come forward and admit that they belong to a specific gang,” she says.
“Any learner admitting that they belong to a gang shows they support the violence of that particular gang and this is a criminal offence.
“And that particular learner could be arrested and prosecuted.”
She says the Education Department understands that pupils who live in gang-infested areas are at risk of joining a particular gang.
“We have asked schools to identify learners at risk so that we can place them in our intervention programme,” says Khan.
She explains that they found that learners are involved in fights after school and this spills over to the school grounds the following day.
Her response comes in the wake of the recent fatal attacks on two learners in the Delft area.
So far, communities have identified the Vatos Lacos and CWBs as the dominant youth gangs in the crime-ridden suburb, but say they are powerless in their grip.
One of the schools worst affected is Rosendal High.
Deputy Principal Chrizelda Layman says they have been rocked by the murder of one of their pupils.
“We can’t be held responsible for the incidents because it did not happen on the school’s premises,” she says.
Meanwhile, Community Development worker and community leader Gadija Francis says despite the various programmes run by the City of Cape Town and police, the buck stops with parents to “keep watch” on their children’s behaviour.
“We cannot blame the police or government because the responsibility lies with parents who do not attend programmes and meetings like the Youth Gang Programme we have every month,” says Francis.
“Parents should be joining the neighbourhood watches and raising the alarm when they suspect their child is involved with crime.”