Western Cape schools again fell victim to criminal activity during the December/January school holidays.
While the Western Cape Education Department provided subsidies for holiday security at 439 schools, 48 incidents of burglary and/or vandalism affecting 42 schools were nonetheless reported during the holiday period. This is an increase from the 41 incidents affecting 34 schools reported during the previous end-of-year holidays.
Items stolen or damaged included bathroom fixtures and water piping, water pumps and meters, drain covers, fencing, windows and doors, computers, IT and audio-visual equipment and cabling, lights and electrical equipment, kitchen appliances and tools, bicycles, garden tools, and consumables like toilet paper and black bags.
Even fencing, security guards, and cameras were not enough to stop criminals from sabotaging our children’s education.
The total cost of repairs and replacing stolen property is still being calculated. It is disappointing that our department and our schools will once again have to divert funding that could have been spent on the educational needs of our learners to cover this entirely unnecessary cost.
Arrests were made in relation to some of the incidents, and we will closely monitor the progress of these cases.
We again make this appeal to the public: do not underestimate your ability to thwart crime in our schools.
Reporting any suspicious activity in the vicinity of our schools to South African Police Services (SAPS) or the Safe Schools hotline immediately can make all the difference in apprehending the perpetrators and recovering stolen property.
If you see something, speak up. There must be no place where the criminals targeting our schools can hide.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Western Cape Education Department, South Africa.