Community bays for blood of 'desk thief'

Canaan Mdletshe

Chaos erupted at a parents' meeting at the Siphosethu Primary School in Ntuzuma, north of Durban, where 16 school desks had been stolen by a homeless man.

He used the desks to build a makeshift shack just outside the school premises to protest against the fact that he had not been given an RDP house.

The desks were stolen on Friday. Yesterday's meeting was called by the school governing body (SGB) and teachers to discuss the Grade 4's missing desks.

During the meeting angry parents went in search of the suspect. Theyaccused police of failing to arrest the suspect while he was at his brother's house.

Once there armed police had to restrain parents from attacking him. During the fracas he ran away.

The parents also accused the police of not taking the matter seriously despite his brother having reported him as a criminal.

A heated argument ensued and senior police leader Captain Delani Hlatshwayo from KwaMashu was sent to intervene.

One parent, who introduced herself only as Sibongile, said she was present when the police confiscated school items from the suspect. They had left him alone.

"We will search for him and deal with him harshly because the police are failing to do their job," she warned.

Hlatshwayo promised that he would investigate why the suspect was not arrested.

"There could be factors that have prevented the police from arresting him because of procedures and the constitutional rights suspects have," Hlatshwayo said.

School principal Themba Sokhabase asked parents to buy desks if they could.