Sadtu calls for action against theft and vandalism at school, attacks on teachers

Sadtu says teachers and learners become despondent when thugs steal and vandalise schools. File Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng

Sadtu says teachers and learners become despondent when thugs steal and vandalise schools. File Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng

Published Jul 11, 2024


The South African Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) has expressed hope that teaching and learning will resume for the third term, despite obstacles such as severe weather conditions, theft and vandalism of schools, and attacks on teachers.

The teachers union said in a statement that it is aware of the challenges that are being experienced by schools as they re-opened for the third term on Tuesday.

Regardless of these challenges, it also praised Grade 12 learners and teachers for their dedication, as they sacrificed their winter holidays to participate in study camps in preparation for the final year examinations.

“We would like to see effective teaching taking place on the first day of the beginning of the term and we trust our members to ensure that this happens.”

However, Sadtu said it was aware that the first day of school reopening may encounter obstacles due to adverse weather conditions, with the Western Cape being the most impacted.

“Even though we have not received information on the state of schools’ infrastructure, we are aware of the damage to the roads which may prevent the learners as well as teachers from accessing schools.”

“The homes of learners and teachers, especially in informal areas, were flooded and damaged, and as a result, school uniforms and books were either soaked or swept away,” said Sadtu.

It further said that some schools may also not operate at full capacity due to the ongoing issues of theft and vandalism.

This includes incidents in Limpopo where four schools were robbed and vandalised, leading to damages amounting to hundreds of thousands of rand.

IOL reported on Monday that four schools in the area lost their property during burglary incidents, and the Gidela Secondary School was also torched during the crime.

Several valuable items, including photocopying machines, printers, and sports kits were destroyed in the inferno.

“The total value of damaged and stolen items is estimated at R341,700,” said Limpopo police spokesperson Malesela Ledwaba.

Limpopo Premier Phophi Ramathuba, accompanied by Education MEC Mavhungu Lerule-Ramakhanya, visited the Gidela Secondary School on Tuesday.

In other incidents which took place at Ximausa Mpembelani School, Ha-Aka Primary School, and Nobelhoek Primary School, police said laptops and tables were stolen.

“Such incidents have untold effects on the functioning of schools as they not only rob both the learners and teachers of the resources to teach and learn, but they also have a demoralising effect,” said Sadtu.

“We commend the community members who alerted police when they saw fire at Gidela Secondary School.”

Sadtu urged the police and communities to work together in bringing to book the culprits responsible for these acts.

In a separate incident, the ‘zinc sheets’ covering three classrooms of Mmanjaakgora Primary School in Prisca village, Moretele, in North West were stolen on Saturday.

It is not known why no one saw or heard the huge sheets of roofing being taken off the classrooms.

The union further said it noted the increasing attacks on school principals and teachers by community members it believes are “either misled or rented by those who are against the revolutionary responsibility of educators as nation builders”.

“We regard any community that promotes lawlessness in learning institutions as counter revolutionary. Education is an enabler and game changer. Any community that is against learning is doing a disservice to society.”

In addition, Sadtu called on all stakeholders in education, including government, communities, parents, teachers, learners, business, and community organisations, to play their part in ensuring that effective learning and teaching takes place in this third term.