Do not take the law into your own hands, Lesufi says after school theft

Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi. File picture.
Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi. File picture.
Image: Gallo Images / Foto24 / Theana Breugem

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi on Thursday afternoon visited a state-of-the-art mega-school to gather information on who was responsible for the theft of expensive equipment, including all the learner tablets.

Although a security guard at Menzi Primary School school had been arrested, his arrest was not linked to Tuesday's theft of the equipment, Lesufi told community members in Tsakane, Ekurhuleni.

Lesufi told community members at the school that he had spent time with the investigating officer at the local police station to find out about the progress of the investigation.

“I can confirm that the person who was a security guard at the school with a gun was arrested by the police and will be appearing in court [on Friday].

“That person is not charged with robbery. He is charged with carrying an unlicensed firearm. How did it come that he had an unlicensed firearm?” Lesufi asked.

The community filled the school hall to get an update from Lesufi following the robbery, which saw the school losing all 185 tablet computers for its learners.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, two guards were locked up before the robbers made off with all the tablets for grade 7 learners and other equipment from the school, which was opened on January 9. The robbers also took off with eight laptop tablets, a plasma TV and petty cash.

Lesufi on Tuesday asked the community to assist in identifying the robbers. He said failure by the community to assist would see the department removing the remaining expensive equipment at the school.

He gave the community a Friday deadline to ensure that the people behind the robbery end up behind bars “failing which, we will have no choice but to withdraw all expensive equipment from the said school”.

Lesufi told the community members on Thursday that when he and other officials opened the school on January 9, they “told the community that the school is worth R105m and that this school has the most expensive equipment you can ever have at the school".

Lesufi said he had requested that the community guard the school.

“We told you this is your children's school. We said you as the community must protect the school. When we got the message on Tuesday morning that there was a break-in and that seven people came here from 11pm to 4am. They took over the school from the community and took all the things that they wanted,” Lesufi said.

He said the education department needed credible information from the community that would assist the police in apprehending the suspects.

“I also want to warn you. We must not take the law into our hands. We must make sure we assist police to get us these things. I do not promote vigilantism,” Lesufi said.

Lesufi said the people who robbed the school were experienced robbers.

“What happened here is very sophisticated, highly organised. You cannot get somebody from the outside who knows where the keys are and who knows where the tablets and the teacher laptops are. We want to find who is this person. We need all of you today to assist us," Lesufi said.

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