Copper theft: more schools hit

2013-10-17 00:00

THREE Pietermaritzburg schools have been recent targets of copper thieves, it emerged this week.

On Tuesday, Longmarket Girls’ School reopened following the closure of the school on Monday after copper water pipes had been stolen, leaving the school without water. Surveillance cameras were also stolen.

School principal Deryl Muir said they had been forced to close the school temporarily because some of the toilets were not working.

Greenhill Primary School in Northdale has also been a victim. The school’s head of department, Diren Naidoo, said they have been hit by copper thieves three times this year. “The last time was two weeks ago and what amazes us is that we had changed the copper pipes to plastic pipes but they still removed them,” he said.

Naidoo said even the manhole covers were removed from their school.

He said this was not unique to Greenhill Primary as other schools in the northern areas were also targeted.

Alston Primary School in Greyling Street has also been a victim of the copper thieves.

KZN Education spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said they were helpless because this was a general occurrence in the province.

He said teachers and pupils could not afford to lose any of the remaining revision time. “We are also worried because this reverses the infrastructure progress made by schools because instead of using money to do something else we have to fix the stolen copper pipes and taps.”

Mahlambi appealed to community members to report such incidents to police.

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said police were still investigating the circumstances surrounding the theft of copper pipes and taps at Longmarket Girls’ School.

He said they did not believe that a syndicate was operating in the area as the quantity of items was minimal. “Theft of copper items at schools in the Pietermaritzburg area is not common,” he said.

Naicker also urged the public to report any thefts or damage to property to police in order for an investigation to be conducted.

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