Decrease in the number of schools targeted over the autumn holiday
During the autumn school holiday period, the WCED's Safe Schools directorate increased security at identified high risk schools and deployed additional security to these schools.
I am pleased that the number of schools targeted over the autumn school holiday period has decreased from 7 to 3 schools when compared to the same holiday period in 2017, with one school being targeted twice.
Therefore, over the autumn holiday period, a total of 4 incidents were reported by 3 schools across the province.
I am also pleased that they were all reported as 'minor' incidents. An incident is classified as minor if the cost for damage is less than R100 000.
The estimated cost of damages thus far has come in at around R20 000. This is the lowest amount reported since I took office 4 years ago.
Two of the targeted schools were in the Cape Winelands and one school is in Metro South District.
The incidents reported included theft of copper pipes and electrical cabling.
It is important for communities to take ownership of the schools in their area and realise that they have an important role to play in protecting their community's assets. I am informed that in the case of the Metro South School, neighbours heard the perpetrators breaking into the school and alerted the police. The perpetrators did not manage to make away with anything from the school and I must whole heartedly thank the community for their swift action.
While we can and do try to safeguard our schools with additional security measures, we cannot win the fight against school burglary and vandalism without community support as schools, given their extensive physical infrastructure, are very difficult areas to secure.
A school is a community asset. Everyone should help protect schools as it is fundamental to the future of our children.
Our Safe Schools Directorate is very active in mobilising communities to look after schools, in conjunction with the police and community-based organisations.
The co-operation of the community is essential in order to combat 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 behaviour or activities that occur within the vicinity of their schools to report this immediately. I would also thank the many communities who have taken this seriously and helped us to protect our 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).