Roofs, doors, tiles, pipes, toilets, TVs, chairs, pianos, stationery, stoves, food: thieves strip schools bare

The North West education department said last week seven schools had been vandalised - but the number has increased to 55 this week. There is concern that pupils won't have schools after the lockdown. File photo.
The North West education department said last week seven schools had been vandalised - but the number has increased to 55 this week. There is concern that pupils won't have schools after the lockdown. File photo.
Image: File/ Anthony Muchave

The North West education department on Friday said 48 more of its schools had been vandalised during the coronavirus lockdown. 

Initially, the department had reported break-ins and vandalism at seven schools but education MEC Mmaphefo Matsemela said vandals had targeted dozens more schools this week alone.

“Last week the province reported seven schools that were vandalised but the number has exponentially increased to 55. Every day during the lockdown the department continues to receive reports of burglary from different schools. In all four districts, numbers of vandalised schools have increased drastically,” Matsemela said in a statement.

Criminals had made off with groceries meant for the pupils' feeding scheme, a kitchen roof, removed tiles, damaged ceilings, taken plasma television sets, copper pipes and basins in school toilets, electricity cables, pupils' chairs and cutlery.

They also damaged windows, ripped apart and stole fences, stole surveillance cameras, toilet paper, geysers, toilets, cleaning material, paper, gas stoves, pianos, stationery, garden tools and classroom doors.

Matsemela was disheartened by the growing spate of criminality.

“I am totally shocked and disappointed at the increasing rate of vandalism taking place in our schools. Criminals should not be allowed to damage and destroy the future of our learners. This is totally unacceptable.

“I personally went to Bonwakgogo Primary school to see the extent of the damage and I became so emotional to witness the destruction that happened there. This poses a serious drawback to the department, when we resume with our studies learners will not have their resources because of criminals,” she said.

“We cannot allow criminals to do as they wish with the school property of our learners. These schools belong to the community and they should work together with the police to apprehend the suspects,” she added.

She called for the perpetrators to be brought to book. 


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