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Media Release

29 January, 2007

Schools report 65 cases of vandalism

Schools reported 65 cases of burglary and vandalism to the Safe Schools Call Centre of the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) from 6 December 2006 to 19 January 2007.

Copper piping was a primary target of vandals. Theft of copper piping has emerged as a new phenomenon since the 2006 June holiday.

Safe Schools has expressed concern that some schools did not activate their alarm systems during the December/January holiday and is following up to avoid similar problems in the future.

The WCED has met South African Police Services (SAPS), who have undertaken to patrol communities surrounding "empty nest" schools. This approach has worked well in our Southern Cape/ Karoo and West Coast/ Winelands Districts.

In Metropole East, Safe Schools has introduced innovative projects, including bicycle patrols of a number of schools.

Vandalism and burglaries affected mainly affected the Metropole South and Metropole Central districts, which reports 32 and 10 burglaries respectively during the holiday period.

"We encourage schools to make use of the Safe Schools Call Centre to report cases and to seek alternatives in their struggle against crime and violence," said Safe Schools manager, Nariman Khan.

"We have to seek community-based solutions. There are excellent examples of best practice, which we can follow. This involves hard work, but success stories to date have shown that this work is worth it."

Examples of schools affected by vandalism during the December/January break included Heideveld Primary School where vandals damaged five classrooms. The school reported the incidents to Safe Schools, in line with procedure.

The WCED’s local Safe Schools Co-ordinator held a meeting with the school’s safety committee to discuss options for improving security.

The committee decided that the best short-term solutions were an alarm system linked to an armed response service, measures to protect the school against stone-throwing, and safety gates.

Safe Schools transferred R40 350 to the school on Thursday, 25 January 2007, to fund these short-term measures.

"The school is quite familiar with procedures for applying for funds to improving school safety. If they need further assistance, they can apply the procedures in our manual for managing safety and security at schools," Ms Khan said.

Issued by:
Paddy Attwell
Director: Communication
Western Cape Education Department
Tel: 021 467 2531
Fax: 021 461 3694
Email: pattwell@pgwc.gov.za

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