A special committee would meet with principals and various bodies to strengthen safety in Gauteng schools following recent attacks, Gauteng Premier David Makhura said on Thursday.
“We must confront this scourge with all the arsenals and resources we have and bring the perpetrators to book. We need a comprehensive response by the police, communities, households and all relevant authorities,” Makhura said during a briefing at the Gauteng legislature.
The premier said that it would be part of the province’s campaign to empower girls and young women.
This follows recent cases of learners being sexually assaulted at their schools. In Soweto, 87 girls were sexually assaulted allegedly by a school patroller, another one in Hammanskraal, one in Benoni and another by a school choirmaster.
“I do not believe that a commission of inquiry is the answer to any type of criminal activity,” he said.
“Anyone who understands gender-based violence and crimes against women and children should know what is required is a combination of law enforcement, breaking the silence, victim empowerment and social mobilisation and gender awareness.”
Makhura said the number of Forensic Social Workers had increased from four in 2013 to 91 in 2016, with dedicated teams established to follow up on cases.
“This has contributed to an increase in conviction rates on cases of gender based violence from 32 percent in 2014/15 to 42 percent in 2015/16,” the premier said.
“In 2015/16 there were 558 perpetrators convicted of gender-based crimes, while in 2016/17 there were 869 successful convictions. For 2017/18 financial year, there are more than 200 convictions already.”
Makhura added new vehicles would be handed over to law enforcement agencies on Friday to strengthen their capabilities to fight crime in the province.
“We call upon all South Africans to break the silence against women and children abuse and rape. We are ready to act and bring perpetrators to book. Break the silence and speak out, so that we can take action.”
Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, Community Saftey MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane and Social Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza were appointed by the premier to focus on improving school safety, empowering learners to break the silence and working with NGOs on gender education in schools.