A Grade 12 Lentegeur High School pupil has been arrested for allegedly stabbing three fellow pupils at school last Wednesday February 1.
The 18-year-old was arrested on Saturday February 4 after two of the boys opened two cases of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH).
He appeared in Mitchell’s Plain Magistrate’s Court yesterday, Tuesday February 7 and is due back soon.
Warrant Officer Wynita Klein-smith, spokesperson for Lentegeur police station, said the police have engaged with community development organisations to assist with programmes at school.
She said the police is working with the school to get Making an Impact Through Sports (MITS) to do extra sporting codes.
“Access to the school (Lentegeur High) is a major problem for SAPS due to the fact that there is no fencing surrounding the broader perimeter of the school, making it easy for perpetrators to gain entry to the school grounds,” she said.
Warrant Officer Kleinsmith said their social crime prevention officer regularly visits and has awareness talks at the school on intervention programmes and truancy.
She could not confirm whether the stabbing was gang-related but when the Plainsman visited the injured pupils, the names “Bos Boys” and “Begaailiks”, referring to the names given to groupings of boys in the area, came up,” she said.
“At this stage we can’t confirm that they are involved in any crime-related incidents,” she said.
Principal Abubakr Frieslaar referred the Plainsman to the WCED and refused to comment on a possible disciplinary hearing with the school governing body. He confirmed that the injured pupils and the stabber had not returned to school yet.
Jessica Shelver, spokesperson for Education MEC Debbie Schäfer, confirmed three pupils were stabbed by a fellow pupil, following an alleged gang-related altercation between the four boys.
A pupil was stabbed in his left hand, on his forehead and in his neck, another was stabbed in his lower back and the third pupil was stabbed on his shoulder.
They were taken to hospital.
“The staff immediately called the police and the emergency services,” she said.
Ms Shelver said the Safe Schools co-ordinator and two psychologists visited the school immediately after the incident to normalise the school and render psychological support.
“Our Safe Schools directorate has arranged for increased police visibility around dismissal time today and for the remainder of the week,” she said.
Ms Shelver said school safety is an ongoing concern and challenge for the Western Cape Education Department (WCED).
“We can take measures to secure our schools, and we do but it is no secret that in the Western Cape we are faced with the scourge of gangsterism that has been plaguing some of our communities for decades,” she said.
“Unfortunately in communities where gangsterism is prominent, it can and does spill over into our schools,” said Ms Shelver.
Goawa Timm, councillor for Ward 76, visited the school and asked the Walking Bus project co-ordinators to include the high school in escorting pupils to and from schools as from Thursday February 2.
The project is a voluntary programme in which the Department of Community Safety’s school safety volunteers, who have received neighbourhood watch as well as road safety training, escort groups of pupils on foot to and from school.
The Plainsman met the three teens who were stabbed and their parents and grandparents.
Their parents refuted any gang-related claims.
The oldest and most seriously injured victim’s parents confirmed that he had been suspended from school last year along with the accused after an argument between the two.
He was discharged from hospital on Friday February 3 after surgery on his hand was completed.
His father said that the three boys play together at the netball court at the end of Lobelia Street, in Lentegeur. “Hulle is by die huis elke aand,” he said. His mother said: “Hulle is goeie kinders.”
The mother of another stab victim said she would like the stabber’s parents to be held liable for their medical bills.
The grandmother of the third stab victim was in too much shock to render a comment.
Chairperson of Lentegeur East Neighbourhood Watch and of the Walking Bus project in the area, Glenda Arendse, said she spoke to the boys and implored them to steer clear and not to be enticed by gangsterism.
She said the groups’ names (“Bos Boys” and “Begaailiks”) were new and could be innocent but could also easily be implicated in criminal activities.
The injured boys said they were referred to the Bos Boys because they played soccer in the nearby bush at the end of the street where they live.
Warrant Officer Kleinsmith urged parents to monitor their children’s behaviour, to intervene and not to turn a blind eye when suspecting their child is in danger of getting involved in gangsterism or drugs.
“Get involved in your children’s lives,” she said.
Parents can go to any police station’s Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP) room and ask for assistance or advice.
The programme works in partnership with NGOs and community-based organisations to improve services to victims of crime and violence.
Warrant Officer Kleinsmith thanked the Lentegeur East Neighbourhood Watch, Walking Bus volunteers, local councillors and community workers for their support and assistance given to the police in the fight against crime and its prevention.
“Children need to know that gangsters are using them because they are minors. They also need to see that in fact they are making sure that you (youth) have a criminal record and making the wrong choices in life will affect your future,” she warned.
At the time of publishing, the Plainsman learnt that the one pupil who was stabbed in the back was re-admitted to hospital following complications from his wounds.