Theft in schools has reached crisis levels

FILE PHOTO of a pupil after receiving food from school's feeding scheme.
FILE PHOTO of a pupil after receiving food from school's feeding scheme.

The theft of electronic gadgets and feeding scheme groceries has reached crisis levels, according to the department of basic education.

Last week thieves broke into two schools in Valhalla and Westonaria, ripping six smart boards off classroom walls and stole dozens of computers.

This came barely a week after thieves broke into four schools in Atteridgeville in Pretoria, stealing computers and groceries meant for underprivileged pupils.

Dr WF Nkomo high school lost seven computers - including the school’s central curriculum management system in the spate of burglaries.

The school has been hit three times in the past three months, twice in January alone.

According to the department of basic education, thieves were so brazen that in November 2016, a gang armed with assault rifles pounced on Marhulana primary school in Tembisa, Gauteng, and took 15 computers.

“It is a huge problem…It is a crisis and there is no level of security to stop this. There is an element of inside jobs in some cases, with computers being stolen without any break-ins,” basic education spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga said.

Kholwane Simelane, Equal Education deputy head in Gauteng said township schools were targets because of socio-economic problems in the communities they are located, such as crime, substance abuse and unemployment.

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