David Makhura. Picture: SOWETAN
David Makhura. Picture: SOWETAN

Gauteng premier David Makhura has appointed a special committee of the province’s executive council to focus on improving school safety‚ empowering pupils to break the silence as well as work with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on gender education in schools.

The committee is made up of Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi‚ community safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane and social development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza.

"Over the next week‚ the special committee will meet with school principals‚ school governing bodies‚ station commanders‚ community policing forums and patrollers to strengthen safety measures and raise awareness as part of our campaign to empower girl children and young women in our province‚" Makhura said in a ministerial statement on Thursday.

He was responding to disturbing incidents of abuse‚ molestation and rape of girls that have been reported over the past two weeks in several schools across the province. This includes 87 pupils at the AB Xuma Primary School in Soweto.

"The scourge is much more widespread if we include the sexual offences committed against girl children in communities and households‚" he added.

Makhura said vehicles would be handed over to law enforcement agencies on Friday to strengthen their ability to fight crime in the province.

"Two hundred cars will be handed over to SAPS [South African Police Service]‚ 75 for Gauteng traffic officers and 60 bikes to the FCS (Family Violence‚ Child Protection and Sexual Offences) as a dedication to the 87 girl pupils who broke the silence at AB Xuma Primary School‚" Makhura said.

The DA’s Khume Ramulifho said the creation of a special committee was "a step in the right direction" but insisted that Makhura’s failure to appoint a commission of inquiry showed that the premier was "not serious about tackling sexual abuse in the province’s schools".

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