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We must all help make schools safer – Zuma

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Johannesburg – President Jacob Zuma has called on all South Africans to stand together to make schools safer.

"As government and communities, we must all play our part to make schools safer and conducive to learning and teaching. We thus need to address the problem of violence in some of our schools," he told thousands of young people at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Thursday.

"Learners have been attacked and killed in some schools. There have also been cases of teachers being attacked by learners, or teachers attacking learners," said the president.

Everyone needed to come together to ensure safety of all at schools, said Zuma, who also appealed for bullying to be tackled at schools.

"There is also the prevalent problem of bullying in some schools, which can have a very detrimental effect on learners who are victims and others who witness the abuse of others," he said.

Say no to drugs

The country should unite to tackle the issue of crime, Zuma said, adding that drugs were ravaging communities and making parents live in fear of those people who use them.

"Indications are that between 7.5% and 31% of South Africans have an alcohol problem or are at risk. Some children dodge school and are seen drinking at taverns in school uniforms. We welcome and support the campaign by the Congress of South African Students (Cosas) against alcohol abuse and the wearing of school uniforms in taverns.

"We urge local authorities not to grant liquor licences to outlets that sell liquor to schoolchildren, or who operate near schools, clearly targeting schoolchildren as customers. Such licences must be reviewed," he said.

Zuma said all had a duty to protect children.

"The abuse of drugs is threatening to destroy many families. Some parents live in fear of their children who terrorise them and neighbours, due to the abuse of nyaope, whoonga, cocaine, heroin and other drugs," he said. "We appeal to our youth to say no to drugs."

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