Minister Schäfer very pleased with drop in incidents of burglary and vandalism
Incidents of burglary and vandalism during the 2017 Spring School holiday period have dropped from 22 incidents in the 2016 spring holiday to 12 incidents in the same period in 2017.
Every holiday, the WCED does all that it can to protect our schools from burglary and vandalism. We do so by identifying schools that are high risk, and providing additional security support to these schools. Crime is fluid, however, and despite these measures some of our schools still unfortunately fell victim to vandalism and burglaries during the school holiday.
A total of 11 incidents reported were reported as minor, while 1 incident was reported as a major incident.
The major incident that was reported involves a school in Mfuleni where perpetrators gained access to the premises by breaking down the school fence. Despite the school receiving holiday security and having an alarm system, five classrooms were targeted by the perpetrators, who made away with 100 chairs and 100 desks, electrical cabling, 4 main switches, 40 globes and light fittings. They also damaged the ceiling of the ablutions. The school currently has no electricity due to the cabling being stolen. The WCED is working with the school to urgently restore the electricity and complete emergency repairs. The WCED's Safe School Directorate is also investigating how the incident took place when the school has an alarm system and holiday security.
The estimated costs of damages is R160 000.
The WCED is completing a cost analysis but so far the total cost for repairs to schools has come in at around R300 000. We should be using these funds to build new schools, improve existing schools and generally improve opportunities for children.
While any incident of burglary or vandalism comes at a cost to the WCED, I am pleased that there has been a significant drop in the number of incidents reported. The figures suggest that extra security and vigilant communities are helping to reduce the incidents of vandalism at our schools. I must thank our Safe Schools Division for their targeted support and community members who assisted during the holiday period in protecting our schools, which are community assets.
Our Safe Schools Directorate is very active in mobilising communities to look after schools, in conjunction with the police and community-based organisations.
Our Safe Schools Directorate also works with police and security companies in all areas, including rural districts, to increase visibility around schools during holidays. Neighbourhood watches also include schools in their patrols.
The drop in incidents reported reflects the importance of communities taking ownership of the schools in their area. We all have an important role to play in protecting community assets.
The co-operation of the community is essential in order to combat learner vandalism and to create a safe school environment that promotes teaching and learning. We urge community members to be extra vigilant throughout the year and to immediately report any suspicious behavior or activities that occur within the vicinity of their schools.
(Please note: The WCED does not identify the names of schools that have been affected by burglary and vandalism. In many cases, the damages caused by the perpetrators can result in a security threat or breach. Therefore, it is our policy to not announce the names).