Thieves use Western Cape schools as 'hardware shops' - MEC

2015-06-02 15:15
Debbie Schafer

Debbie Schafer

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Cape Town - Drug addicts are using schools as “hardware shops” to find whatever they can sell to buy a quick fix.

These crimes were costing the department money that could otherwise be spent on additional teaching posts or study materials, Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schafer said on Tuesday.

She announced that a budget of R20m had been set aside for emergency repairs at schools affected by burglaries and vandalism. This is twice the amount spent in the previous financial year.

Schafer said this money, along with R28.5m allocated to the Safe Schools directorate, could have been better spent on 125 additional teaching posts or materials and equipment such as textbooks, desks and chairs.

“In the last financial year, schools reported a total of 1 180 incidents of burglary and vandalism. That averages 98 incidents per month, or three per day,” Schafer said.

“What is even more shocking is that 22 schools were hit more than 10 times. One of our schools in the Metro Central District reported 23 cases of burglary and vandalism.”

Safe Schools programme manager Oscar Apollis said the majority of incidents were reported at schools in gang infested areas where substance abuse is rife.

Schafer said addicts were using schools as “hardware shops” to steal whatever they could sell for a quick fix.

“It’s concerning that they would break down school fences and windows to get inside to steal one tap,” she said.

Safe Schools has increased security at high-risk schools, Schafer added. Almost 1 500 schools in the province are equipped with alarm systems.

“However, it has become clear that these security measures no longer always act as a deterrent.”

Read more on:    debbie schafer  |  cape town  |  crime  |  schools

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