Vandals torment school’s staff

2016-09-29 06:00
Burglaries at Thembelihle Senior Secondary School have left a massive damage at the school.                                                        PHOTO: mBONGISENI mASEKO

Burglaries at Thembelihle Senior Secondary School have left a massive damage at the school. PHOTO: mBONGISENI mASEKO

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Teachers at Thembelihle Senior Secondary School say they feel “unsafe” after four burglaries in a space of six days.

The first burglary was discovered on Monday last week.

Two other burglaries were found in the course of last week, while the other was committed over the weekend.

School Principal Bongani Mfiki said following the incidents, about 14 boys-five of whom are learners at the school- have been arrested.

The eldest suspect is 20 year old. Mfiki said the suspects were found in possession of some of the items that were stolen from the school, which include a microwave, staplers and two of five cellphones that were confiscated from learners.

“The burglaries caused a massive distraction in the school. We are not(feeling) safe at all. They(culprits) left very disturbing messages that show us that we are not safe.

Mfiki said a meeting with the School Governing Body to be held soon will determine the fate of the suspects who are learners at the school.

“One of the suspects is a former learner who was expelled for selling drugs in the school yard,” Mfiki said.

It was not immediately clear when the suspects were going to appear in court.

Jessica Shelver, spokesperson to MEC of Education, Debbie Schafer, said perpetrators gained entry by breaking the padlock on the entrance gate.

She said the school principal reported that a number of windows and doors had been broken by the perpetrators.

“The perpetrators reportedly stole a stove from the feeding kitchen as well as food items such as milk and mealie meal. This is essentially taking food out of our poorest learner’s mouths. The school does have an alarm, but this was reportedly not on at the time of the break in. The school has palisade fencing but parts of it have reportedly been stolen,” Shelver said.

She said a Safe Schools Fieldworker was due to visit the school this week to assess the security situation. The school is part of a night cluster patrol and has night security.

The estimated cost of damages is still being determined.

Shelver said the WCED spends about R10 million a year on emergency repairs for damage resulting from major incidents of vandalism.

She said the department and schools could better spend these funds on improving the quality of education in schools. At the end of the day, vandalism represents theft from learners.

“The co-operation of the community is essential in order to combat learner vandalism and to create a safe school environment that promotes teaching and learning. We urge community members to be extra vigilant throughout the year and to immediately report any suspicious behaviour or activities that occur within the vicinity of their schools,” she added.

She said figures suggest that extra security and vigilant communities are helping to reduce the incidence of vandalism at schools.

The co-operation of the community is essential in order to combat learner vandalism and to create a safe school environment that promotes teaching and learning.

We urge community members to be extra vigilant throughout the year and to immediately report any suspicious behaviour.

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