The Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, is horrified that 21 schools were burgled and vandalised during the lockdown period.
“The department has witnessed about 21 criminal activities at different schools which accordingly are indicative of a trend by criminals to take advantage of the 21-day lockdown to rob and vandalise schools,” said Gauteng education spokesperson Steve Mabona.
Mabona said it must, however, be noted that such incidents are normally experienced during recess, as it is quiet and there is a lack of activity.
Mabona says 18 were burgled and vandalised and three others were destroyed by fire — bringing the total to 21.
Gauteng schools that were vandalised and burgled during lockdown
Criminals took advantage of the lock-down to break-in and vandalise 18 schools in Gauteng:
- Mofolo Primary in Evaton;
- Tsokodibane Primary in Evaton;
- Beverly High in Evaton;
- Katleho Impumelo Primary in Sebokeng;
- Dinokaneng Secondary in Evaton;
- Phuthanang Primary in Soshanguve;
- Lotus Gardens Secondary in Lotus Gardens;
- Makhosini Secondary in Soshanguve;
- Nonto Primary in Soweto;
- Isipho Primary in Soweto;
- Bervelly Primary in Sebokeng;
- Ikokobetse Primary in Bophelong;
- Atlehang Primary in Mabopane;
- Pholosho Primary in Tsakane;
- Caiphus Nyoka Secondary in Etwatwa;
- Tlakula Secondary in KwaThema;
- Tembisa High in Tembisa; and
- Leondale Secondary in Leondale.
“Valuable equipment and school nutrition groceries were stolen during the burglaries. It must be emphasised that this will have a huge impact and affect [the] proper functioning of schools,” said Mabona.
Three destroyed by fire
Mabona said the fires are suspected of being premeditated arson.
The following places of learning were destroyed by fire:
- Amogelang Secondary in Soshanguve;
- Lethabong Secondary in Soshanguve; and
- Phuthanang Primary in Soshanguve.
“We think a collective effort to detect and report incidents to law enforcement agencies might yield positive results in curbing this criminality,” said Mabona.
Communities urged to protect schools
SGB Associations are advised to reinforce security measures. Members of the community are encouraged to protect places of learning and report incidents swiftly. Members of the community have also been urged not to buy stolen goods.
“We wish to reiterate our plea to the police to continue to prioritise school patrols and conduct thorough investigations to apprehend perpetrators,” he said.
“This is appalling and unbelievable, that we are actually on day 12 of the lockdown, one ponders on how will the picture look like after this period. The members of the community are encouraged to continue to report to the police. Indeed we cannot allow this barbarism to continue to rob our children [of] their future,” said Lesufi.