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A girl walks to school in South Africa.
Themba Hadebe/AP
Education

South African Schools Are a ‘Death Trap’ — So the Government’s Vowed to Take Action


Why Global Citizens Should Care
 Experiencing or witness violence can affect students physically and psychologically, and cause them to have to take time off school. Join us here in taking action to promote safer schools and support the UN Global Goal No.4 for access to quality education.

The state of safety and security in South African schools has been the talk of parliament after a man was stoned and stabbed to death by school children.

Thoriso Themane, 28, was attacked by a mob of learners in Flora Park in Polokwane, Limpopo last weekend, with a video of the incident circulated on social media. Initially, six pupils were arrested and three more were added in the course of the week.

Take Action: Children Around the World Deserve to Go to School

South Africa has high rates of crime, murder, and gender-based violence, including rape — and that violence has spilled over to schools.

Bullying, robberies, and sexual violence are rampant is South African schools and, according to media reports, there have been numerous incidents of violence between pupils and teachers and among pupils.

A few days after Themane’s murder, a primary school student was stabbed by a classmate at Mateane Primary School in Diretsane, North West.

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Police spokesperson captain Sam Tselanyane confirmed the news, saying: “It is alleged that around 10:30 a.m. two grade 5 learners were fighting and one of them was the suspect's friend.”

“The suspect allegedly tried to separate the two and as he was trying to separate them, the deceased attacked him,” he added.

The 13-year-old attacker was arrested and sent to a youth care centre for assessment.

Meanwhile, in January, a playground argument at Mpheko primary school in the Eastern Cape ended with a pupil allegedly stabbing another one to death.

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Other incidents include a playground fight between four pupils at Hoerskool President in  Ridgeway in Johannesburg, which was circulated on social media. The pupils were suspended.

The South African Government News Agency called the country’s schools "death traps" and reported that cabinet has vowed to stop school violence.  

“Our children need safe environments of learning and we call on learners, educators, parents, and guardians to work together to protect our children socially, physically, and emotionally,” the cabinet said in a statement.