Gauteng DA concerned that criminals continue to target schools
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Johannesburg – The DA in Gauteng says it is “terribly concerning” that schools continue to be a target for criminals.
This comes after 43 schools in the province were vandalised since the beginning of the year.
Others were recently vandalised during the unrest that gripped some parts of the country, leaving them with without much-needed resources for learning and teaching.
During the beginning of the national lockdown that President Cyril Ramaphosa had ordered last year to curb the spread of Covid-19, 351 Gauteng schools were affected by vandalism. Some were burnt down.
Khume Ramulifho, DA Gauteng spokesperson for education said the vandalism of schools has the potential of harming the future of students.
He said both the Gauteng departments of education (GDE) as well as Community Safety “dismally failed” to prevent such incidents of vandalism, theft, and burglaries where the GDE continues to lose millions of rands repairing and replacing resources stolen and damaged during these incidents.
He said the money being used to repair the schools could be used to eradicate asbestos schools to protect the health of vulnerable children as well as fixing the deteriorating infrastructure across the province to ensure a conducive learning and teaching environment.
“The department’s school’s safety strategy is ineffective, and it is evident through the number of vandalism cases reported.
“This is a clear indication that the SAPS is also failing to prioritise school safety with adequate police visibility.
Ramulifho said the party had tabled questions to Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko to ascertain what measures were being put in place to safeguard schools.
He said they also want to know the number of cases, arrests and convictions that have been made so far.
“We are calling on the SAPS intelligence unit to urgently investigate the syndicates that are involved in vandalism, theft, and burglary of our schools so that the perpetrators can be apprehended and there is a stop to this criminal element.
“Furthermore, DA proposals such as installation of fences or walls surrounding schools, installation of CCTV cameras and alarm systems in hotspot schools linked to the nearest police stations, night shift patrollers to safeguard schools, and the co-operation of community members would make a profound difference in preventing such incidents from happening again.”