File photo: Phando Jikelo / African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – Little has been done to protect Khayelitsha schools from criminals, says the Khayelitsha Crime Task Force.

This follows the Western Cape Education Department having recorded 27 incidents of vandalism and burglary across the province during the December holidays - despite increased security measures at schools.

The number, however, was down from the 33 incidents reported during the same period in 2017.

At an unnamed metro central school, criminals made off with more than 100kg of food meant for children, including rice, maize meal, beans and soya. They also stole copper taps and storage containers.

At another school, ICT equipment from the administration block was stolen as the thieves got in through the roof, damaging it and the ceiling. They also ripped out wiring, damaging the intercom system.

Khayelitsha, which falls under Metro East, reported three incidents.

Last year, disgruntled Khayelitsha pupils, teachers, parents and community organisations marched to town to demand safety at schools in the township after a spate of armed robberies.

Khayelitsha Crime Task Team member Jackson Bozo said: “Sosebenza Primary School, Site B, was robbed last year and there are still no security guards.

“Following various meeting with the education department, community safety and other stakeholders, we were promised two security guards for day shift and two for nights, but some schools don’t have them.

“Schools like Chumisa Primary, also in Site B, has no proper fencing. It’s easily accessible. I also received reports of a number of schools robbed during the holidays - Yomelela Primary, for example.”

At a Cape Winelands School, nine metres of fencing was stolen.

Education department spokesperson Jessica Shelver said: “It is simply deplorable to steal food out of the mouths of pupils. 

"It is also irresponsible to damage water infrastructure, given the drought we’ve been through over the last few years. I am especially calling on communities to report suspicious behaviour around our schools.

“It is impossible to remove nine metres of fencing without being seen. Incidents reported included theft of copper pipes, electrical cabling, computer equipment and stationery.”

She said some schools had been targeted simply to destroy property, with nothing stolen.

“This destruction is unacceptable. Classrooms, halls and computer labs were damaged, with light fittings, windows and sport equipment stolen.”

The provincial education department estimated a loss to date of R400 000 with only three-quarters of the damage quantified.