Durban - South Africa comes second after Jamaica with the most incidents of violence at schools.
This and other shocking statistics were revealed by the South African Council of Educators (Sace) chairwoman, Veronica Hofmeester, during the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) seminar on violence at schools, which was held in Durban on Wednesday.
The conference was attended by principals from all over KwaZulu-Natal.
Hofmeester, who is also the vice-president of Sadtu, said according to reports, 22% of pupils in South Africa had been threatened with violence, assaulted, robbed or sexually assaulted at school.
She said deploying police was a short-term solution as contributing factors went beyond just the school gates. Principals needed to be able to deal with societal issues in the communities they worked in.
“The National School Violence study revealed that learners were perpetrators of 90% of the violence that happens in schools, whether against other learners or teachers,” she said.
Hofmeester believed a great deal of “subtle” school violence and intimidation went unreported.
The latest “General Household Survey: Focus on Schooling” report to be released by the Department of Basic Education showed that children in KwaZulu-Natal were more likely to experience violence, verbal abuse and corporal punishment at school than pupils living in seven other provinces in the country.
The data, released last month, revealed that 24% of the province’s children aged 7 to 18 had endured violence, verbal abuse and corporal punishment at school.
Technology has made the education landscape “sophisticated and complex”, making it difficult for teachers to monitor the influence of the internet and social media on pupils.
Some pupils have also become desensitised to violence - whenever they witness it they take out their cellphones and record it to post on the web.
Hofmeester said while pupils in the Western Cape said it was easy to bring weapons into schools, KwaZulu-Natal pupils said they had easy access to drugs and alcohol.
“Principals, you can be found in conflict of the law if you keep the dagga that you confiscated from pupils in your office drawer. We want our principals to protect themselves from such things.”
She said it broke her heart that incidents of violence committed by pupils against teachers were poorly reported because of fear, shame and because some principals were unable to deal with the incidents so teachers stopped reporting to them.
“The learner will swear at a teacher and when she reports to the principal, the head of school will also be sworn at. So violence has become normal to some of the teachers. The long-term impact of this is depression because these things erode both the professional and personal self-esteem of the victim.”
The Sace head said the “cost of violence is too expensive” because the long-term effects of school drop-outs, poor academic performance and repairing infrastructure cost the school and country money.
“(The) government needs to start training more teachers in the handling of bullying and violence in schools because teachers now have to be social workers, councillors, security guards and so on.”
Hofmeester also proposed the creation of alternative schools for violent children to help them acquire skills.
Principal Mamotsau Thipe, of Wiggins High in Mayville, said the Department of Education had a responsibility to hire a private security company to guard public schools that did not charge school fees, as the government subsidy did not provide funds for guards.
“Fence the schools so that hooligans don’t have free access to school premises. Substance abuse is also a big problem,” she said.
Teachers urged the government to provide social workers and psychologists, whose role would be the implementation of trauma counselling for teachers and pupils, modifying and shaping pupil behaviour, resolving fights and disputes and providing various other programmes that would mould pupils into responsible citizens.
The deputy director-general in the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education, Dr Enoch Nzama, said violence was a contributing factor to the poor academic performance at schools. He said the department was committed to working with trade unions to make schools safe places for teaching and learning.
Tips for teachers on staying legal and keeping safe:
* Never touch your pupils - especially not when angry.
* Never transport pupils in your car.
* Never be alone with one pupil in the room.
* Never be an internet/social media friend with pupils.
* Never ask a pupil out for a social occasion.
* Never use extreme physical activity as a form of punishment.
* Never use corporal punishment.
South Africa has a notably high rate of murders, assaults, rapes and other violent crimes, compared with most countries. The popularity of gated communities and increasing dependence on private security indicates a view that the situation may be beyond control of the police. The causes of the crime, the calculating of the statistics and the formulating of law enforcement policies are all matters of ongoing debate in government and at the United Nations.
In February 2007, the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation was contracted by the South African government to carry out a study on the nature of crime in South Africa. The study concluded that the country is exposed to high levels of violence as a result of different factors.
- The normalisation of violence. Violence comes to be seen as a necessary and justified means of resolving conflict, and males believe that coercive sexual behaviour against women is legitimate.
- The reliance on a criminal justice system that is mired in many issues, including inefficiency and corruption.
- A subculture of violence and criminality, ranging from individual criminals who rape or rob to informal groups or more formalised gangs. Those involved in the subculture are engaged in criminal careers and commonly use firearms, with the exception of Cape Town where knife violence is more prevalent. Credibility within this subculture is related to the readiness to resort to extreme violence.
- The vulnerability of young people linked to inadequate child rearing and poor youth socialisation. As a result of poverty, unstable living arrangements and being brought up with inconsistent and uncaring parenting, some South African children are exposed to risk factors which enhance the chances that they will become involved in criminality and violence.
- The high levels of inequality, poverty, unemployment, social exclusion and marginalisation.
A survey for the period 1990–2000 compiled by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime ranked South Africa second for assault and murder (by all means) per capita and first for rapes per capita in a data set of 60 countries. Total crime per capita was 10th out of the 60 countries in the dataset.
The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute have conducted research on the victims of crime which shows the picture of South African crime as more typical of a developing country.
Recently released statistics from the South African Police Service (SAPS) and Statistics South Africa (SSA) saw a slight decline of 1.4% in violent crimes committed in South Africa.
Most emigrants from South Africa state that crime was a big factor in their decision to leave.
Around 49 people are murdered in South Africa every day. The murder rate increased rapidly in the late-1980s and early-1990s. Between 1994 -2009, the murder rate halved from 67 to 34 murders per 100,000 people. Between 2011-2015, it stabilised to around 32 homicides per 100,000 people although the total number of lives lost has increased due to the increase in population. There have been numerous press reports on the manipulation of crime statistics that have highlighted the existence of incentives not to record violent crime. Nonetheless, murder statistics are considered accurate. In the 2016/17 year, the rate of murders increased to 52 a day, with 19,016 murders recorded between April 2016 to March 2017. 
Homicides per 100,000 from April to March:
Main article: Sexual violence in South Africa
The country has one of the highest rates of rape in the world, with some 65,000 rapes and other sexual assaults reported for the year ending in March 2012, or 127.6 per 100,000 people in the country. The incidence of rape has led to the country being referred to as the "rape capital of the world". One in three of the 4,000 women questioned by the Community of Information, Empowerment and Transparency said they had been raped in the past year. More than 25% of South African men questioned in a survey published by the Medical Research Council (MRC) in June 2009 admitted to rape; of those, nearly half said they had raped more than one person. Three out of four of those who had admitted rape indicated that they had attacked for the first time during their teenage years. South Africa has amongst the highest incidences of child and baby rape in the world.
South Africa has a high record of carjacking when compared with other industrialised countries. Insurance company Hollard Insurance stated in 2007 that they would no longer insure Volkswagen Citi Golfs, as they were one of the country's most frequently carjacked vehicles. Certain high-risk areas are marked with road signs indicating a high incidence of carjackings within the locality.
Murder of farmers
Crime against white commercial farmers in the country have gained notable press given the country's past racial tensions, but statistics substantiating claims that White farmers are murdered at a higher rate than the national homicide average haven't actually been discovered.
Kidnapping in South Africa is common in the country, with over 4,100 occurring in the 2013/2014 period, and a child going missing every five hours.
Main article: Corruption in South Africa
PricewaterhouseCoopers's fourth biennial Global Economic Crime Survey reported a 110% increase in fraud reports from South African companies in 2005. 83% of South African companies reported being affected by white collar crime in 2005, and 72% of South African companies reported being affected in 2007. 64% of the South African companies surveyed stated that they pressed forward with criminal charges upon detection of fraud. 3% of companies said that they each lost more than 10,000,000 South African rand in two years due to fraud.
Louis Strydom, the head of PricewaterhouseCooper's forensic auditing division, said that the increase in fraud reports originates from "an increased focus on fraud risk management and embedding a culture of whistle-blowing." According to the survey 45% of cases involved a perpetrator between the ages of 31 and 40: 64% of con men held a high school education or less.
Advance fee fraud
Advance fee fraud scammers based in South Africa have in past years reportedly conned people from various parts of the world out of millions of rands. South African police sources stated that Nigerians living in Johannesburg suburbs operate advance fee fraud (419) schemes.
In 2002, the South African Minister of Finance, Trevor Manuel, wanted to make a call centre for businesses to check reputations of businesses due to proliferation of scams such as advance fee fraud, pyramid schemes and fly-by-night operators. In response, the South African Police Service has established a project which has identified 419 scams, closing websites and bank accounts where possible.
Gated communities are popular with the South African middle-class, Black as much as White. Gated communities are usually protected by high perimeter walls topped with electric fencing, guard dogs, barred doors and windows and alarm systems linked to private security forces. The Gauteng Rationalisation of Local Government Affairs Act 10 of 1998, allows communities to "restrict" access to public roads under the supervision of the municipalities. The law requires that entry control measures within these communities should not deny anyone access. The Tshwane municipality failed to process many of the applications it has received, leaving many suburbs exposed to high levels of crime. Several communities successfully sued, won and are now legally restricting access. These measures are generally considered effective in reducing crime (within those areas). Consequently, the number of enclosed neighbourhoods (existing neighbourhoods that have controlled access across existing roads) in Gauteng has continued to grow.
Private security companies
Main article: Private security industry in South Africa
The South African Police Service is responsible for managing 1,115 police stations across South Africa.
To protect themselves and their assets, many businesses and middle-to-high-income households make use of privately owned security companies with armed security guards. The South African Police Service employ private security companies to patrol and safeguard certain police stations, thereby freeing fully trained police officers to perform their core function of preventing and combating crime. A December 2008 BBC documentary, Law and Disorder in Johannesburg, examined such firms in the Johannesburg area, including the Bad Boyz security company.
It is argued that the police response is generally too slow and unreliable, thus private security companies offer a popular form of protection. Private security firms promise response times of two to three minutes. Many levels of protection are offered, from suburban foot patrols to complete security checkpoints at the entry points to homes.
The government has been criticised for doing too little to stop crime. Provincial legislators have stated that a lack of sufficient equipment has resulted in an ineffective and demoralised South African Police Service. The Government was subject to particular criticism at the time of the Minister of Safety and Security visit to Burundi, for the purpose of promoting peace and democracy, at a time of heightened crime in Gauteng. This spate included the murder of a significant number of people, including members of the South African Police Service, killed while on duty. The criticism was followed by a ministerial announcement that the government would focus its efforts on mitigating the causes for the increase in crime by 30 December 2006. In one province alone, nineteen police officers lost their lives in the first seven months of 2006.
Recently,[when?] the government had a widely publicised gun amnesty program to reduce the number of weapons in private hands. In 1996 or 1997, the government has tried and failed to adopt the National Crime Prevention Strategy, which aimed to prevent crime through reinforcing community structures and assisting individuals to get back into work.
A previous Minister of Safety and Security, Charles Nqakula, evoked public outcry among South Africans in June 2006 when he responded to opposition MPs in parliament who were not satisfied that enough was being done to counter crime, suggesting that MPs who complain about the country's crime rate should stop complaining and leave the country.
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