Johannesburg - A Soweto school has been left shaken after robbers out to steal its smart boards shot dead a security guard.
Madibane Comprehensive High School principal Lehlohonolo Molefe said the incident took place on Thursday. The patroller was shot dead while his two colleagues were tied up in a classroom at the school.
“The smart boards (interactive whiteboards) are important and we want them, but I wish they came with better security. The worst thing is that it’s not like he was trying to fight them. They came into the school and shot him,” Molefe said.
She talked about the stress of having the smart boards in her school.
“It is very stressful. You can ask any principal and they will tell you how much they worry because of them. When I don’t get a call by 6.30am I get relieved that there was no robbery,” she said.
Gauteng Education Department spokesperson Steve Mabona confirmed the break-in and killing.
“MEC Panyaza Lesufi is extremely concerned and disappointed about the incident in which an employee lost his life, and also that valuable resources in the school, which are meant to enhance the delivery of quality education to pupils, were targeted.
“These resources are unfortunately seen by some as an opportunity to feed their criminal deeds and rob our pupils of their right to quality basic education.”
Three smart boards - two for Grade 11 and one for Grade 12 - were stolen from the school. This is not the first time the school has been broken into this year. The first break-in was in June, when one smart board was stolen, and it has still not been replaced.
Between last year and now, 114 smart boards have been stolen from schools in the province. Tshwane South district has had the most stolen smart boards, at 35, followed by Joburg Central at 19 and Joburg South at 17.
Mabona said smart boards were being live-tracked by service providers and monitored around the clock at all no-fee-paying townships.
He said that at the moment, the department did not know how many devices had been recovered as they were still conducting an audit.
Molefe said the school appreciated the smart boards.
“The smart boards work for us. The pupils respond very well to them because they are part of Generation X.”
Now that they have been stolen, the school will revert to using traditional teaching methods.
Molefe said it was up to individual schools to increase their security.
“Schools are supposed to raise the money from parents and other donations, but we don’t have that kind of money,” she said.
A school patroller from Orlando, Soweto, said the R1800 they got monthly was earned the hard way.
“We don’t have guns, two-way radios or protective gear. We just go to the schools, and the people who rob the schools have guns. When we get to the schools, we are on our own,” said the patroller, who didn’t want to be named.
The patrollers are community policing forum volunteers who are hired by the Gauteng Education Department and receive a stipend from the Department of Community Safety.
Mabona said some of the department’s strategies to increase security in schools included the prioritisation of schools with poor infrastructure and no fencing, and strengthening ties with local police stations.