The lives and wellbeing of learners at Ella Du Plessis Secondary School in Windhoek’s Khomasdal are at risk as they are prone to attacks by criminal elements, who from time to time rob the learners of their phones, grab their bags and belongings, and in some instances even physically attack helpless learners – particularly females.
Learners in the hostel are the ones said to be the main victims, as such incidences happen frequently when they leave the school premises to go to a nearby shop to buy bread, lotion or other necessities.
Gangs of thugs have now made it a habit to ambush learners in nearby riverbeds, where they storm and grab the bags and other belongings before disappearing into nearby bushes.
This was confirmed by hostel superintendent Chris Songa, who recounted a similar incident about two weeks ago when several thugs grabbed the bags of some learners, who were on their way from the shop to the school.
“These cases are always happening, but thanks to the quick responses of the City Police, who always act promptly. They also do patrols on a regular basis, which has somewhat reduced crime in the vicinity,” Songa noted.
He said one major challenge is the issue of broken fences around the school, which serve as entry points for criminals to come onto school premises and steal items from the hostel, especially when there are no people around.
Songa, however, said in recent days the situation has been calm, as they repaired the broken fence and intensified security on school premises, as well as area patrols by City Police officers.
“Apart from that we have another big challenge with the illegal settlers on the school premises.
“They make it difficult for us to lock all the hostel blocks, because they are residing here with their families. So, we, as the school, never have the power to ensure that all [hostel] blocks are secured,” Songa explained.
He said the school through the Ministry of Education has on several occasions served the illegal tenants with eviction orders, but these were met with stiff resistance by some who argue that they have nowhere else to go and are unable to pay the exorbitant rental prices. Songa is hopeful that all the illegal tenants will in the near future be relocated.