The Hout Bay Community Police Forum has stepped in to help protect school children in Hout Bay.
After the fatal shooting of a 46-year-old man outside Sentinel Primary, the Hout Bay CPF drafted a security plan which includes roping in reinforcements. The man is believed to be related to a pupil at the nearby Hangberg Pre-Primary School.
After meeting with schools earlier last month, Hout Bay CPF chairman Anthony Chemaly said they had called on the principals, school governing body (SGB), Community Crime Prevention (CCP), Hout Bay Neighbourhood and police, to discuss an array of options to improve the safety around schools.
Mr Chemaly said they had agreed to “risk-assess the school safety action plan and give inputs in the current procedures”.
They would also conduct a walkabout on the premises to “identify further improvements on the security framework” and have started engaging with the City of Cape Town and National Government, about the possibility of adding CCTV cameras and a new exit point at the school, to allow for safe evacuation of the pupils in the case of an emergency.
“It (the security plan) will only work if we get the support needed. SAPS will do patrols, radios are issued, but cameras and a new exit need financial input from local and national government,” Mr Chemaly said.
They also provided the schools with two-way radios linked to the Hout Bay Watchcon Control Centre.
Hout Bay Neighbourhood Watch chairperson, Liezl Schulte, said the radios would give the school direct access to the WatchCon centre, which would co-ordinate their reports.
“By securing the area, the school and the children, we hope to display a real community effort in this regard,” she said.
“The idea is to get them linked up as soon as possible, because these camera have a much wider angle and helps us to see more,” she said.
Principal of Hangberg Pre-Primary, Tania Gray, said Mr Chemaly had been “instrumental” in ensuring that all roleplayers met to discuss the latest shooting incident, which involved a parent at her school.
“It is really encouraging to see how the HBNW and the CPF have supported Sentinel Primary School and Hangberg Pre-Primary school with their efforts to improve security at the schools,” she said.
Parents were relieved to hear plans being discussed to protect the school children.
Bronwen Jonas from Hout Bay works in Constantia and drops off her children at the school in Hangberg.
“I don’t have much of a support system when it comes to my kids, so everything I have to do on my own. I usually go earlier in to work, to come earlier home from work,” she said.
“I am happy to hear so many people are stepping up and coming forward to help our kids.”
Ms Jonas said when she heard about the shooting outside the school, it had felt as if time was standing still.
“I heard a man was shot and I kept waiting to hear if it was only a man or if there were others involved. There were so many different stories flying around, but I just breathed out very hard when I heard no children were injured,” Ms Jonas said.
“Our kids must be seen, not hurt. You see those posters everywhere and we really must start living up to it.”
Sentinel News contacted Sentinel Primary for their input, but they declined to comment.