Youth destroy daycare

2015-07-21 06:00
A large gap can be seen in the walls which are meantto secure the perimeter at Manenberg pre-primary has been stolen. 

Chevon Booysen

A large gap can be seen in the walls which are meantto secure the perimeter at Manenberg pre-primary has been stolen. PHOTOS: Chevon Booysen

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Delinquent youngsters are the cause of much exasperation at a Manenberg crèche.

A boy of only eight was found vandalising parts of the Manenberg Pre-primary facility in Thames Avenue recently. He and a teenager were caught red-handed.

Principal Sarah Petersen says she has struggled with vandalism at her school for many years.

“They have stolen all our drain covers already. There is a gaping hole in the fencing after they stole a few palisade slots,” Peter­sen says.

The incidents have had a huge impact on the facility as Petersen says they have to constantly tell people to use another way through.

“They come from either side of the facility, wanting to pass through, and we cannot have that. We need our children to be safe at all times and can’t just have people passing through the premises,” she adds.

According to Petersen the incidents escalated to such an extent that she had some of the windows welded closed.

“We were afraid that they would come back to the premises and steal more copper fittings in one section of the crèche which we currently do not use. As they were about to start welding, the men checked inside that there was no-one and they found two boys – one aged eight and the other fourteen – hidden inside,” she says.

Petersen says she has had continuous problems with vandalism for years.

“It has been going on for so many years and we are just so tired of all of this. We have become so despondent after all these incidents,” Petersen continues.

“We have reported so many times, but what is the use if nothing comes of it? You report every time something happens but nothing comes of the cases,” she says.

Petersen believes cases have fallen through because the community is too afraid to come forward with information that could lead to the successful arrests of the criminals. “They are too scared to pass information to the police. This makes it even more difficult,” she says.

On the day People’s Post visited the facility, a staff member mentioned that another burglary had taken place even more recently. “They tried to gain access through one of the windows at the babies section. They couldn’t take anything, however, because most of the goods are either already stolen or packed away,” she says.

Petersen says a good Samaritan has heard about their plight to make the school safer.
Dr Randall Ortell, who hails from Manenberg, heard about the struggle at the crèche and decided to rope in the help of contractors completing work at another school in the area. He managed to get the contractors to donate some of their off-cut material to the crèche so that they may secure the premises.

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