Thieves prey on computers
A number of schools in Mpumalanga have lost computers following burglaries by thugs who apparently sell the stolen items outside the country.
The thieves are using the Lebombo border post as a conduit for stolen goods between South Africa and Mozambique.
Police recovered a number of computers and computer screens worth thousands of rands at the border gate this week, where several Mozambican suspects were arrested.
Spokesman Captain Leonard Hlathi said schools and businesses that had opened cases relating to the theft of computers should approach the police.
"This is aimed at assisting them identify the computers.
The confiscated computers may not necessarily have been stolen from Mpumalanga only but after checking them, we hope to be able to find out where they originated from," Hlathi said yesterday.
He said some of the computers had been hidden inside a mattress that was transported by a bakkie but "eagle-eyed" police officers found them anyway.
"The suspects could not give a good explanation about where they had obtained the computers and screens or why they hid them in the mattresses," said Hlathi.
Two high schools, Sosha-ngana in Buyisonto near Bushbuckridge and Hoyohoyo in Cunningmoore near Hazyview, are among the schools that have lost their computers to criminals in recent months.
Mpumalanga education spokesman Jasper Zwane confirmed that the theft of computers in schools was hampering the education process.
"The continuous theft of computers from our schools hampers our endeavour to enhance teaching and learning.
We appreciate the wonderful work the police are doing, making sure these stolen computers don't get out of the country," Zwane said yesterday.
A community member staying near the border gate said thugs usually connived with families nearby to hide stolen goods in their houses while waiting for a good chance to pass through the border.
"Passing through the border gate with stolen items is difficult sometimes, but the thieves usually work with corrupt border officials. They bribe them so they could pass through," said Giyani Shivambu, a community member living near the border gate.