Lockdown: 25 more arrests for Gauteng school burglaries bring total to 66

2020-04-21 11:29

Gauteng police have arrested 25 more people for school burglaries, which brings the total number of suspects arrested during the coronavirus lockdown to 66.

The latest two suspects were apprehended with the help of the community of Orlando, Soweto, on Saturday.

According to Gauteng police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo, these suspects, aged 36 and 25, were caught red-handed on the school premises.

"The other suspects were arrested by the team of detectives appointed by the provincial commissioner to trace all the suspects responsible for burglaries and torching of schools in Gauteng," Masondo said.

"Ten more suspects were arrested in Johannesburg, including Soweto, nine in Tshwane and the other six... in Ekurhuleni, Sedibeng and [the] West Rand."

READ: Lockdown: Thieves vandalise 5 schools in the Vaal, steal equipment and groceries

Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela thanked communities for assisting the police in apprehending the school burglary suspects.

"The community has played an imperative role in the arrest of these suspects and that is much appreciated. I believe that working together we can protect the future of our children from the criminals" Mawela said.

'Disheartening'

Since the start of the Covid-19 lockdown, almost 200 schools have been vandalised across South Africa, according to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. In some cases, equipment was stolen and in others entire schools were burnt down.

"It is quite disheartening that criminal elements in our communities could destroy the infrastructure of their own children with such apparent impunity," Motshekga said in a statement on 13 April.

Schools closed on 18 March after President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster. A lockdown was put in place to ensure that as many people as possible stay home to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Read more on:    johannesburg ­  |  police  |  lockdown  |  education  |  crime
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