Thugs target school

2019-02-21 06:01
Glass in the reception was shattered at the school. PHOTO: UNATHI OBOSE

Glass in the reception was shattered at the school. PHOTO: UNATHI OBOSE

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Staff and learners at Zola Business School arrived to find the reception area, the office of the principal, the consumer studies class, the school hall and the languages class damaged on Friday.

Teaching could not take place at all and the pupils were ordered home to avoid tampering with the scene of a crime.

Boxes containing books were ripped open, with some books scattered on the floor, and items such as laptops, kitchen utensils, projectors and others were missing.

It is believed that the criminals gained access through a back window in the school hall, before smashing the one in the reception area.

Bronagh Hammond, the Western Cape Education Department Head of Communications, said the break-in started in the school’s administration block.

“Despite the physical security infrastructure at the school, a security guard, and an alarm system, the perpetrators(still) managed to get into the building,” she said.

Among items stolen included three laptops, four projectors, four desktops, a speaker and PA system, a hoover machine, a microwave, two urns, an iron, two school bags and some foodstuff, two canon cameras, Wi-Fi distributor, a graduation gown and a sewing machine.

Wele Sigamlele, of the School Governing Body, said he received a call from the principal informing him of the incident.

“I was shocked because it’s been a while since the school was last broken into. They removed the burglar bars, coming in through an open window,” said Sigamlele.

He said the absence of security officials in schools granted criminals access to do as they pleased.

“The last time we experienced a burglary was in 2015. In 2016 we decided to hire our own security to look after the school, until 2017. This is the first incident since then,” he said.

Sigamlele said the break has had a negative impact on the learners, since the stolen items were valuable to them..

“This is a business school. It will take time for the school to replace the stolen items with new material,” he said.

Sigamlele added that the suspects were familiar with the school.

School principal Xolela Mjonondwana said the break-in has set them back in terms of time.

“This is time wasting and a loss of resources,” he said. “We have also lost data and resources.”

Hammond said it is sad that the school was targeted and asked that the public to report to the police if any of the above items are identified. She said the WCED is assessing the security requirements at the school.

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