The Western Cape Education Department’s (WCED) efforts to beef up security measures saw slight changes, with at least 26 schools being targeted by burglars over the December holiday period.
Despite the department providing holiday security at 486 schools at identified risk areas, criminals also vandalised 24 schools.
Items stolen or damaged included gas cylinders, food, computers and cameras. There was also destruction to property, including electrical boxes, windows, ceilings, doors and security equipment.
Education MEC David Maynier said on Wednesday while this was a significant decrease compared with 48 incidents reported at 42 schools the same period last year, they were still disappointed that once again schools in the province must pick up the pieces after criminal damage and theft.
“It is unacceptable that funding has to be diverted from educational purposes each year to replace items that have been stolen, or repair infrastructure damaged for no reason, especially in a significantly stressed financial environment,” said Maynier.
He said damaging and stealing from schools was a sabotage to children’s futures.
“We appeal to the public to come forward if they notice anyone attempting to sell goods that have been stolen from our schools. Someone, somewhere knows these perpetrators, and we appeal to them to do the right thing so that our schools cease to be a target of crime.”
“Reporting any suspicious activity in the vicinity of the province’s schools to the SAPS or the Safe Schools hotline (0800 45 46 47) immediately can make all the difference in apprehending the perpetrators and recovering stolen property,” Maynier added.