Gugs protests target staff of local library

2018-05-31 06:01
Windows and equipment were damaged in a recent attack at Gugulethu Library.

Windows and equipment were damaged in a recent attack at Gugulethu Library.

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A recent attack on the Gugulethu Library has left staff and library users traumatised when a group stormed the facility last week on Tuesday, 22 May.

At just after 13:00 the group entered the facility and vandalised computer equipment, windows and doors. Staff and patrons were also threatened with physical violence.

It is further believed that the group intended to set fire to the building as police later found some type of accelerant outside.

Mayco member for safety, security and social services, JP Smith said: “It appears that the incident was linked to protest action in the area, and, while staff and patrons were not physically hurt, they have been left traumatised by the ordeal.

“I appeal to anyone in the community who knows anything about this incident to please approach the police or the City’s enforcement agencies so that we can hold those responsible to account for their actions,”.

The City has yet to calculate the cost of the damage, but the incident comes at a time when the Library and Information Service has already submitted 110 insurance claims in the current financial year valued at more than R1.2m.

This is three times higher than the 58 claims submitted in the previous financial year for around R370 000.

Of the City’s 104 libraries, 17 feature prominently on the list of insurance claims and account for 54% of all claims submitted in the last three financial years, with the most damage occurring at the Bellville, Bishop Lavis, Eerste River, Goodwood, Hangberg and Heideveld libraries.

Some of the measures implemented to negate the risk of theft or vandalism include perimeter lighting, installation of burglar bars and tinted windows, alarm systems and additional beams and sensors at potential entry points like ceilings and courtyards. A number of City libraries are also on the list of facilities set to form part of the recently expanded Facility Protection Officer initiative.

“I also call on neighbourhood watches and other local community policing structures to help us safeguard our community facilities at large. We also have an informant reward system for information that can lead to the successful apprehension and conviction of persons who target City infrastructure or the recovery of stolen items. We need all hands on deck if we’re going to throw the book at criminals,” says Smith.

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