School vandalism is stealing from our children
I have received final confirmation on the number of schools affected by burglary and vandalism in the 2019/20 December Holiday period.
30 incidents were reported to Safe Schools. This is an increase in incidents from the same period in 2018/19 where we recorded 27 incidents of burglary and vandalism.
Metro Central Education District recorded the highest number of incidents – 10 in total – while 9 schools reported incidents in the Cape Winelands District.
The WCED is currently assessing the costs of damages and the repair work that needs attention.
While the majority of cases have been recorded as “minor incidents” (minor incidents are those that have estimated costs under R100 000 in damages and theft), a number of cases have significant costs attached. 8 incidents have recorded estimated costs of over R25 000 each.
It must be noted that in all but one of the cases reported, the schools had an alarm system and/or security guards. In most cases security guards were present. In some cases, the security guards disrupted the perpetrators which caused them to flee. However, in other cases, the crime went unnoticed. It is concerning that in one case two night guards were held at gun point, and in another, there was a shoot-out between the alarm company personnel and the perpetrators. Fortunately, none of the guards were harmed, but unfortunately the perpetrators got away.
The most costly reported incident happened at a school in the Caledon area. Soon after schools closed in December, the school administration block, computer room and a classroom were broken into. Doors, safety gates, and steel cabinets were damaged. Computers, keyboards, and printers were stolen. Equipment and food from the school feeding scheme was pilfered.
Again, I would like to appeal to all communities to help us protect our schools. Our budget is stretched beyond its limit as it is, and deliberately damaging schools is a direct theft of resources from learners.
The overwhelming majority of schools in this province were left untouched, including those in poor communities where crime and gangsterism is rampant. I thank those communities for engaging with us and acting as custodians of their schools.
I ask that the public please report any suspicious behavior to the police immediately, and that anyone with any information about an incident that has occurred in our schools also report this to SAPS immediately.
Please note: The WCED does NOT release the names of schools for security purposes.