MEC bewails lack of security at schools

2018-09-20 06:02

Staff at Yomelela Primary in Khayelitsha has reported that a burglary took place at around 1am on Monday morning.

The perpetrator(s) entered from the back of the school grounds. The stone guard, window pane and burglar bars were damaged to gain entry into the computer lab.

The CCTV cameras in the lab, which reportedly showed visuals of the perpetrator(s), were damaged with a crowbar.

A data projector, flat screen TV, 14 computers (whole units) and 70 headphones were stolen.

According to a statement by the Education Department, the estimated cost of repairs is around R120 000.

“This is a huge cost, not only to the Education Department but to learners and the community too.

The School has an alarm system linked to an armed response but they did not respond.

Debbie Schafer, provincial MEC for education said: “The principal reports that the alarm was triggered and gave off two signals – he has called a meeting with the service provider because they confirmed that everything was reportedly fine at the school. This is unacceptable.”

The incident was reported to the Site B SAPS. The Department of Education urges SAPS to prioritise the investigation of these incidents as these robberies cannot continue unabated.

“While we are doing as much as we can as an education department to try and protect our schools, we simply do not have the legislative mandate, security expertise or budget to guarantee learner safety from armed criminals that are preying on our schools,” said Schafer.

She added that the best solution that will assist in stopping these criminals from preying on schools, teachers and learners is an increased police presence, effective criminal intelligence, arrests and convictions.

“The under-resourced SAPS and the failing criminal justice system sends out the message that it’s worth the risk to conduct criminal activities as there will be no consequences,” she said.

The safest schools, she said, are normally those in communities that support these schools, for example, via on-going surveillance and volunteer work.

“We encourage communities with neighbourhood watches to include schools in their patrols and increase patrols around schools,” she added.

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