Let's fight for safety in our schools

One of the two classrooms at Katlehong Primary School in Ekurhuleni that was damaged following a protest by community members against lack of electricity in the area.
One of the two classrooms at Katlehong Primary School in Ekurhuleni that was damaged following a protest by community members against lack of electricity in the area.
Image: Gauteng education department

It is a concern that the Gauteng department of education is losing millions of rand to criminals through theft and vandalism.

More than 250 schools in the province were broken into and some were vandalised this year alone, with the cost of damage exceeding R121m.

According to MEC Panyaza Lesufi yesterday, there were 262 cases of theft and vandalism reported in the province in total since the beginning of the year. Lesufi said the schools had lost valuable resources meant to enhance the delivery of quality education.

What is more worrying is that these break-ins happen in our communities and in most instances they are committed by people known by locals but nobody is doing anything to stop the crimes.

Ironically, residents turn a blind eye to these kind of incidents as it is government property, but strangely they tend to forget their own children attend these schools.

They also forget that poorly equipped schools rob their children of a better future.

Some residents have even made a habit of buying equipment and building material stolen from schools because they are cheap. They don't bother to question the origin of the stuff.

In the nutshell they become accessories to crime and they should face the full might of the law like those who did the actual stealing.

It may look like we are saving money as we buy cheaper, stolen property now but in a long run we are not, instead we are stealing our children's better opportunities.

Lesufi said they had been supported by law enforcement agencies but he called on communities to protect the schools.

We fully agree with the MEC when he called on community members to not only jealously protect the schools, but take the ownership of their schools and declare war against criminals.

It can't be only the responsibility of the police to protect our learning institutions. The community has an equal responsibility to protect the schools, and by doing so, they protect the future of our children.

Again, as residents, we have the means to stop theft by making sure there is no market for stolen goods. We should report any suspicious trade from these thugs who have no place in our communities.

We must stop these thieves from destroying the future of our innocent children who want nothing but a better education that will make them better people in life.

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