27 Western Cape schools were either burgled or vandalised during the winter school holiday. With children now returning to damaged facilities, the Education Department has to foot the bill.
On Tuesday, Western Cape Minister of Education, Debbie Schafer, released a statement expressing her concern over the incidents.
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While many schools were hubs of activity over the holiday period thanks to additional classes and sports, there were schools that remained vacant and were therefore “targeted by vandals.”
“At the start of every school term, one of my main concerns is that teachers and learners will arrive at a school that has been badly vandalised or burgled during the winter school holidays. Unfortunately, this was the case when schools opened last week.”
“27 schools reported incidents of burglary and vandalism during the 2018 winter holiday period. This is the same as the figure from last year at the same time,” Schafer said.
While just one of the 27 cases were reported as “major”, one of the minor cases is costing the department over R60 000 to repair and replace.
The Cape Winelands District reported the highest number of cases with seven schools reporting incidents of burglary or vandalism. Six Metro Central and six Metro South Schools reported incidents, while three schools in the Eden and Karoo District and three schools in the Metro East District reported incidents.
The most severe incident took place in Metro East where perpetrators broke into the school an hour after the nightshift security staff had left. Multiple computers, printers, a stove, heaters and even cell phones were stolen.
Other cases saw CCTV cameras being stolen together with basins and copper piping.
“It is absolutely unacceptable that we have to tolerate this ongoing destruction of our facilities that is forcing us to divert precious, scarce resources that could be better used to improve education.”
“It is time that people understand that government does not have unlimited resources to simply replace items that are stolen or vandalised.”
The department will now follow up the cases with the police.