Thieves are quick to spot a gap when targeting schools for their illicit gains. Photo: David Ritchie African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town  – Vandalism and burglaries at schools have increased over the last year in the Western Cape and, according to statistics, 42 schools were targeted in June.

Between January and June last year, 395 schools were burgled or vandalised. In the first six months of this year, 471 schools have been burgled or vandalised.

Western Cape Minister of Education Debbie Schäfer said: “On average, two schools are being burgled or vandalised every day. It also indicates that the number of incidents reported this year is on the rise from last year.”

Schäfer said a school in George had reported 10 incidents of burglary and vandalism this year.

Other schools, in Paarl, Langebaan and Laingsburg, had reported eight incidents. This was a province-wide problem that needed to be addressed by everyone, she said.

A total of 768 schools were targeted in the Western Cape last year.

The principal of Mount View High in Hanover Park, Heinrich Bouwer, said: “On a daily basis there are criminals who break down our fences and it costs us so much money to repair. After school hours, the schools are targeted for these crimes.”

Bouwer said their school did not have a security guard because they did not have the funds for one, since the fees were so low. There was a caretaker who slept at the school but he had no weapon, which meant his life was in danger.

The principal at Kulani Secondary School in Langa, Bonakele Busika, said: “Burglaries and vandalism at schools are a great concern. 

"It has increased, the windows and fences that protect the school were broken down and the security lights for the school were stolen.”

The principal at Milnerton High School, Paul Besener, said it didn’t matter where the school was because gangs that planned to rob schools were often well equipped. 

The financial repercussions were severe since many schools could not afford to insure their properties.

Schäfer said that schools with security guards had also been found to be victims of crime.

She urged the public to take ownership of the schools in their area whether they had a child attending or not.

Cape Argus