No-fee school stripped by thieves in spate of robberies

2019-10-24 16:36
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A no-fee primary school in Gauteng has again been the target of brazen thieves who have been stealing food, computers, fridges, and window and door frames.

Sowetan reported on Thursday that Kutumela Molefi Primary School in Donkershook, east of Pretoria, has been hit 10 times this year alone. 

According to Pretoria News, the school, situated in an isolated area along Bronkhorstspruit Road, has suffered countless burglaries in its two years of existence.

The thieves initially went for the school's prized possessions, such as gas cylinders and computers, Sowetan reported. 

Criminals then reportedly resorted to stealing food meant for the pupils' feeding scheme.

READ | Port Shepstone school guard arrested after stolen tablets allegedly found at his home

But, after the food was moved to a rented storage facility for safekeeping, the thieves reportedly started stripping the school down, taking anything they could find, including window frames.

The no-fee school reportedly has 742 pupils, most of them dependent on the feeding scheme. Most parents are from the surrounding informal settlement of Lethabong and are unemployed.

Criminals getting more ruthless

Principal Alfred Moemise told Pretoria News the criminals were getting more ruthless with each attempt.

"They started breaking doors and windows. Now they are hauling out the windows and vandalising the infrastructure," he reportedly said.

The community of Lethabong, in the far east of Mamelodi, has blamed squatters next to the school for burglaries at the school, Pretoria East Rekord reported.

Police Minister Bheki Cele and Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi visited the school in April.

During his tour of the school, Cele reportedly described the vandals as organised and hardcore criminals and said "they will be brought to justice soon".

Gauteng education department spokesperson Steve Mabona told Sowetan the department was aware of the conditions at the school.

Mabona reportedly said the department had bought the land on which the school is located with the intention of building two new schools, but that portions of the land have since been illegally occupied by land invaders. 

He added that the matter had been referred to the department of infrastructure development and the state attorney for the possible eviction of the occupiers. 

- Compiled by Riaan Grobler

Read more on:    pretoria  |  crime  |  robbery
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