Umnqophiso

2018-04-26 06:00
An air conditioner connected to the lab at Umnqophiso Primary School was stolen. PHOTOS: supplied

An air conditioner connected to the lab at Umnqophiso Primary School was stolen. PHOTOS: supplied

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The never-ending break-ins at Umnqophiso Primary School in Lwandle came under the spotlight at a community meeting on Tuesday evening.

The meeting, held at Lwandle Community Hall, sought to find solutions to address a matter that seems to have spiralled out of control.

The school was this week again targeted by brazen criminals, who stole a laboratory air conditioner and vandalised a container, which is also used as a classroom.

City Vision reported on a burglary at the school which saw items valued at R60 000 stolen (“XXX”, 29 March).

That was the second incident in that month alone, following a break-in on Monday 5 March, where items worth R30 000 were stolen. The property was also damaged.

Speakers at the meeting said it was the first time a school burglary incident was on the agenda, which indicated the situation was out of control.

In all the reported incidents the school, the local police have not made any arrests.

Jongidumo Maxheke, Ward 86 councillor, admitted that the spate of break-ins at the school is indeed a problem.

“We need to have security personnel who will be dedicated to guarding the school overnight,” he said.

“Those willing can then get a stipend for the work they will be doing because what is going on there is not on. The current money being wasted on repairs can be channelled to those security personnel instead.”

Umnqophiso is said to be the oldest school in the area, having been a starter school for many schools in the Nomzamo area.

“If we allow this school to be terrorised in this terrible way, while we watch and do nothing, government will close it down,” one resident pointed out at the meeting.

“If the school is closed, we must know we would have allowed the history of Lwandle to be erased. Let us be proactive, enough is enough.”

Lieutenant Colonel Xolani Williams, Lwandle police station commander, confirmed a case of business robbery was reported by the school.

“The police have not effected any arrest in the other previous cases reported including the recent one,” Williams said. “However, the investigation is still ongoing.”

Said police spokesperson, Sergeant Mthokozisi Gama: “We appeal to the community of the surrounding area to assist is with the investigation of the case, and to report any individuals involved in these break ins.”

Anyone with any information is implored to contact the police station on 021 845 2060.

“We further appeal to the community not to buy any stolen property from anyone without proof of ownership,” Gama said.

The police appeal to the community of Lwandle to play a role in guarding the school premises and report individuals stealing from the schools.

“We appeal also to the provincial education department, the school management and the school governing body to consider beefing up the school security by hiring the security guards to look after the school, especially at night,” said Gama.

“We will do random patrols around the schools to ensure that there is no crime committed there.”

Gama said this will be possible if the community is able to assist in policing the schools.

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