Western Cape schools continue to be targeted by criminals
Statement by Minister Debbie Schäfer, Minister of Education Western Cape
41 incidents of burglary and vandalism (affecting 34 schools) have been reported by our schools as having taken place over the December 2021/January 2022 school holidays. The majority of the incidents were minor in nature, with just 2 major incidents being reported. 38 minor incidents were reported, as well as 1 with negligible damage.
This is a significant decrease in comparison to the 59 incidents reported during the December 2020/January 2021 holidays (bearing in mind that the 2020/21 holiday was much longer), but nonetheless remains 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.
The total cost of repairs and replacing stolen property is still being calculated, and will add a further financial burden that neither the Department nor our schools can afford. The WCED provided holiday security to 477 schools over the December/January holiday, but in some instances, even security guards and cameras did not thwart determined 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.
Someone, somewhere knows the perpetrators, and we urge them to do the right thing and report any information that could assist in these criminals being caught and punished.
Spokesperson to Minister Debbie Schäfer
Western Cape Ministry of Education