Report of schoolgirl's abduction, rape raises Western Cape education's concern

The Western Cape department of education has expressed concern after receiving yet another report about the abduction of a pupil this month.

Earlier this month, two kidnappings in the Zonnebloem area and one attempted abduction in Rylands were reported.

READ: Police ask for info on Zonnebloem child abduction allegations

MEC for education Debbie Schafer confirmed that a Grade 9 pupil from a Southern Suburbs school was abducted and allegedly sexually assaulted while travelling to school on August 23.

"The learner reported that men in a white BMW with tinted windows stopped next to her and pulled her into the car before driving around with her for hours," she said.

"The matter has been reported to the South African Police Service Steenberg and the learner has received medical attention. A school social worker and psychologist are also providing counselling to the learner and her family."

Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said that a case of rape had been opened for investigation.

Pupils urged to be cautious

Schafer noted that while the safety of pupils beyond the school gates was not within the department's control, schools needed to ensure that safety measures were in place at dismissal time.

"Learners who are picked up at their school by parents or caregivers should remain within the school property until they have visibly identified their mode of transport," Schafer said.

"Learners who require public transport and are expected to walk to their relevant departure areas should travel in groups at all times. However, where feasible, parents must please arrange that this is as close to the school as possible."

Pupils were cautioned not to accept any free food, drinks, money or objects from strangers and encouraged to report any suspicious people to a teacher or an administrator at the school.

Schafer said that head of department Brian Schreuder had issued communication to schools to remind them to review and update their safety policies last week.

Pupils, parents and teachers may phone the Safe Schools Call Centre not only to report incidents and request support, but also for counselling and advice on 0800 45 46 47.