School burglaries in Gauteng skyrocket to 55

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi wants criminals targeting schools to be arrested swiftly, calling for the assistance of communities.
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi wants criminals targeting schools to be arrested swiftly, calling for the assistance of communities.
Image: Vathiswa Ruselo/Sowetan

Five schools in Soweto have fallen victim to theft by criminals, the basic education department said on Sunday, as it disclosed that burglaries at its learning facilities have now skyrocketed to 55 during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said he is perturbed by the increase in the number of cases of burglaries and vandalism at schools, from 40 on April 9.

The latest break-ins occurred between April 9-11 — affecting 15 schools.

These are: Harmony Primary, Lenasia; Eersterust Secondary, Eersterust; Matseke Primary, Atteridgville; Jordan Secondary, Evaton; Jabulani Technical, Soweto; Thomas Nhlapho Primary, Meyerton; Moqhaka Secondary School, Sebokeng; Kwa-Ntsikana Secondary School, Soweto; Klipvalley Primary School, Soweto; Lufhereng Secondary, Soweto; Mbuyisa Makhubu Primary School. Soweto; Ivory Park Secondary, Ivory Park; Mahube Valley Primary, Mahube Valley; Sehopotso Secondary, Sebokeng; and Princess Primary, Roodepoort.

Valuable equipment and school nutrition groceries were stolen during the burglaries, the education department said.

“It seems that these criminals are not bothered and they don’t have a sense of the damage they are causing to the future of our children and our country, because without education, we are doomed, the future is bleak,” said Lesufi.

Gauteng community safety MEC Faith Mazibuko said last week she has deployed the province's traffic police saturation unit and the special law-enforcement unit to work with the police in tracing those responsible for both the attacks on schools and clinics.

Lesufi on Sunday reiterated his call to communities to help protect schools, and to report criminal activities in their areas to law enforcement agencies.

“Indeed the coarse behaviour of these criminals is annoying and they must be apprehended and face the law,” said the MEC.

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