EASTERN Cape schools will not only be supplied with stationery but also with drug testing material.
This was announced at the launch of a drug and substance abuse intervention programme at St Thomas Senior Secondary School in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
Many pupils are reportedly dumping school and becoming drug addicts.
Education spokesman Malibongwe Mtima told Daily Sun: “There is social unrest in the northern areas of Port Elizabeth. Pupils who are abusing drugs were identified.
“We decided that schools across the district need an aggressive intervention programme. Some of the children even get involved in gang violence. That’s why MEC Mandla Makupula introduced a new approach to save the pupils.”
Handing over the drug kits, Makupula said: “About 20 schools in the northern areas will be getting drug test kits. The use of drugs is a problem all over the Eastern Cape, but we decided to start here.
“Parents and the police will be involved to monitor the programme. Pupils found to have a serious drug addiction will be sent to rehabilitation centres.
“We have beefed up school security by employing 28 school patrollers. They’ll make sure pupils stay away from drug dealers. We also provided fencing to protect schools, but still it is the responsibility of the community to get rid of drug dealers.”
The provincial director of school enrichment programmes, Mpho Ngoma, urged children to spend more time on sport and cultural activities. He said: “Pupils must take the initiative and lead the teachers in school enrichment programmes. All schools must have active sport and cultural structures to create an opportunity for the pupils to avoid drug abuse. In schools with few activities, pupils end up getting pregnant or using drugs.”
Shahnawaaz Khan (17), a pupil from Woolhope Secondary School, said: “Not a single zol will get us to university. Instead drugs could make us fail matric and become members of a gang. We must not allow our schools to become breeding grounds for drug dealers.”