Cape schools vandalised during holidays

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Copy of ct Grassy park primary 4636 done CAPE TIMES Pupils walk through the girls' toilets at Grassy Park EC Primary which were damaged by vandals during the school holidays. It is estimated that the damage will amount to between R5 000 and R6 000. Photo: Brenton Geach

Cape Town - Schools across the city have been hit by vandals over the winter holiday.

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) was expected to release details on Tuesday of the number of schools which had been targeted over the three-week holiday.

Paul Sassman, principal of Grassy Park EC Primary, said vandals had broken into the school on Wednesday, the only day he hadn’t visited the school during the holiday. He said the caretaker had been at the school and left around noon.

“They were watching him and when he locked up, they came in.” He said the roof above the girls’ toilets had been broken through and three of the basins destroyed. Vandals had stolen the taps and smashed the porcelain sinks to get at the copper piping.

Sassman said there had been water everywhere and this had been cleared up.

He estimated the damage at about R5 000 to R6 000.

Gavin Alkana, principal of Athwood Primary in Hanover Park, said a computer monitor had been stolen on Friday night.

Athwood Primary had been regularly targeted by vandals until Alkana and community members stepped in to protect the school.

“The damage to property was bad. They came through the roof and did some damage to the ceiling. We think it is youngsters because the gap was quite small.”

On Monday, Jessica Shelver, spokeswoman for Education MEC Debbie Schäfer, said reports regarding holiday vandalism were being collated from schools.

“In order to protect our schools, as far as possible, from burglary and vandalism over the holiday period, the WCED’s Safe Schools directorate arranged for increased security at some of our high-risk identified schools. Unfortunately, despite these measures, vacant schools still fall prone to vandalism and burglaries during the school holiday.”

She said during the holiday, 495 schools had received 24-hour security or had benefited from patrols.

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