The case of Manenberg schools
Historically, the Cape Flats township of Manenberg has been plagued by gang-related violence. In 2013, EELC joined a coalition of civil society organisations that visited Manenberg, meeting with the community and assessing the impact of gang violence on the ability to teach and learn.
In February 2014 gang violence broke out at Red River Primary school. The EELC acted quickly and wrote to the provincial education department demanding an intervention. When no response was forthcoming, the EELC filed an urgent application in the Western Cape High Court on behalf of five Mannenberg schools. The EELC successfully obtained an interim order compelling the department to deploy armed, equipped, visible security personnel at the schools, or to close the schools temporarily. The department was also restrained from docking salaries of teachers who missed school due to gang violence, and ordered that a catch-up plan be put in place for learners.
Two days later, a meeting was convened between relevant stakeholders, including EELC.An emergency “safety and security plan” was proposed by the South African Police Services for all Mannenberg schools. On the basis of this plan, the department returned to court to have the interim order overturned.
The EELC welcomed this outcome as it guaranteed immediate relief to the students and teachers of Manenberg.