MEC’s visit Cebisa following fatal stabbing

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GK CRONJE

23 August 2022

Gangs are often connected to organized crime, violence and drugs.

Suzuki Ermelo (WEB) 22 September 2020.jp

Following the gang-related fatal stabbing of a student at Cebisa Secondary School in Wesselton on Tuesday, 16 August 2022, the eyes of the country are on the government to take action. Mpumalanga education MEC, Bonakele Majuba, condemned the incident, and also conveyed his condolences to the family. “Regrettably, the stabbed learner succumbed to his injuries at Ermelo Provincial Hospital. It is alleged that the learners belonged to different troublesome gangs in the township,” the department said in a statement. The suspect is a fellow student, and has since been arrested on a farm between Ermelo and Breyten. MEC Majuba visited the school on this morning, together with Mpumalanga Community Safety and Security MEC, Vusi Shongwe, and other officials, who rendered psychosocial assistance to all who are affected by the incident.

The two MECs also visited Laerskool Ermelo, where a meeting took place between the principals and student governing bodies of all schools in the area to discuss the way forward. During the visit, it was also announced that an imbizo will be hosted at the Wesselton Stadium on 28 August 2022. The imbizo will commence at 11:00. The imbizo will be led by MEC Shongwe, where gang violence and school safety will be discussed. Youth Gang Violence (YGV) is on the rise in South Africa, and this situation has led to increased fears about safety and security in and around schools. The increasing number of high school learners getting involved in gang activities raises a major concern regarding the impact of their involvement on their educational attainment, and lives in general.

Young boys start associating with gangs very early, when they are still at primary school level, between the ages of 5 to 12-years-old. Other learners join youth gangs when in high school and beyond, between the ages of 14 and 21-years-old. The crimes and violence committed by the latter age group are of greater significance, and of a more serious nature. Gang involvement leads to many negative outcomes, such as incarceration, drug and alcohol use, injury and death. Gangs may also serve as a protective influence, and offer many benefits that are unmet in their homes, schools and neighborhoods to those who join them. Risk factors include poor attachment to school, attention and learning problems at school, and dropping out of school, whilst gangsterism that emanate from the family include poor attachment to the parents, delinquent siblings, and violent parents and gangster family members.

Gangs are often connected to organized crime and drugs, while other gangs are more about identity, and their gang fights are about claiming their space and their identity within these communities.