Burglaries, vandalism incidents at Gauteng schools rise to 55
Johannesburg - The number of burglaries and vandalism incidents at schools in Gauteng since the coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown started has increased to 55, the Gauteng education department said on Sunday.
Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi was "perturbed about the sky-scrapping" number of burglaries at Gauteng schools during the lockdown period, the department said in a statement.
There had been 15 more break-ins between April 9 and 11. The schools affected were - Harmony Primary, Lenasia; Eersterust Secondary, Eersterust; Matseke Primary, Atteridgville; Jordan Secondary, Evaton; Jabulani Technical, Soweto; Thomas Nhlapho Primary, Meyerton; Moqhaka Secondary School, Sebokeng; Kwa-Ntsikana Secondary School, Soweto; Klipvalley Primary School, Soweto; Lufhereng Secondary, Soweto; Mbuyisa Makhubu Primary School. Soweto; Ivory Park Secondary, Ivory Park; Mahube Valley Primary, Mahube Valley; Sehopotso Secondary, Sebokeng; and Princess Primary, Rooderpoort.
This brought the total number of "criminal activities" at schools to 55 since the beginning of the lockdown on March 26, the department said. Valuable equipment and school nutrition groceries were stolen during the burglaries.
“It seems that these criminals are not bothered and they don’t have a sense of the damage they are causing to the future of our children and our country, because without education we are doomed, the future is bleak. Indeed the coarse behaviour of these criminals is annoying and they must be apprehended and face the law," Lesufi said in the statement.
"This is to reiterate our plea for protection of our schools, and the community is encouraged to always report criminal activities in their areas to the law enforcement agencies for a swift response,” he said.
On Saturday, the Mpumalanga education department also lamented the ongoing spate of burglaries at schools in the province during the Covid-19 lockdown period.
A total of 72 schools had been broken into throughout the province - seven schools in the Bohlabela district, nine in Ehlanzeni, 28 in Nkangala, and 28 in the Gert Sibande district, the department said in a statement.
Mpumalanga education MEC Bonakele Majuba condemned the targeting of schools and urged community members to report such incidents to the South African Police Service (SAPS).
"The destruction and breaking into public or private property is really uncalled for and must be condemned in the strongest terms it deserves. Schools, and any public property, must not in any way be targets for criminal activity, because they solely exist to empower our children and communities. For this reason they need to be protected,” said Majuba.
African News Agency (ANA)