JOHANNESBURG - Thieves targeted two schools in Atteridgeville, Pretoria and stole computers and food meant for pupils, the Gauteng Department of Education said on Friday.

"In the early hours of today, 23 March 2018, criminals forcefully gained entry at Masizane Primary School, tied up the security guard, broke into the school admin block and stole seven computers, two tablets, and all nutrition stock at the said school," the department said in a statement.

"It is unfortunate that, in the very same morning, Thohoyandou Primary School was also hit by the robbers [who] stole four computers and all nutrition stock."

MEC Panyaza Lesufi urged residents to help police track down the robbers. He believed the theft was as a result of a syndicate.

"We strongly believe that there is a syndicate operating in the area, because these activities started on Tuesday, 20 March 2018, where Flavius Mareka Secondary School was broken into and the criminals made off with the entire nutrition stock," Lesufi said.

"'We strongly condemn these criminal acts which seek to undermine our effort to provide food to our children at school. It is paramount noting that, most of learners at these schools are from disadvantaged communities, and as such we must provide food to them every day. We urge community members to avail any information that might assist the police to apprehend culprits.  Our schools cannot afford to be a haven for criminals, this cannot be tolerated."

African News Agency/ANA