Cape Town - The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has reported 41 incidents of burglary and vandalism which affected 34 schools over the December 2021/January 2022 school holidays.
The department said only two major incidents were reported.
Provincial education MEC Debbie Schäfer said while this is a significant decrease in comparison to the 59 incidents reported during the December 2020/January 2021 school holidays, taking into account the holiday period was much longer, the incidents nonetheless remain a serious concern.
“Items stolen included IT and audio-visual equipment, electrical cables and fixtures, fencing, water pipes and ablution fixtures, air-conditioning units, gas tanks, stationery, kitchen equipment, Covid-19 safety supplies, bicycles and workshop tools.
“There were also incidents of vandalism, particularly the smashing of windows, as well as damage to school buildings during burglaries,” Schäfer said.
The costs of repairs and replacement of stolen property are still to be calculated and this is said to be adding a further financial burden that neither the WCED nor schools can afford.
The department said it provided holiday security to 477 schools over the holiday period but, in some instances, security guards or cameras did not deter criminals.
“I again urge the public to report any suspicious activity in and around a school to SAPS or the Safe Schools hotline (0800 45 46 47) immediately.
“Please do not underestimate your ability to assist the police to interrupt, investigate and apprehend the perpetrators of these criminal actions by being the eyes and ears on the ground.
“Even the smallest piece of information can be key,” Schäfer said.