'There are people that are robbing us with guns' - traumatised teachers during Strand school robbery

2018-06-20 14:47
ACJ Phakade Primary School teachers have been robbed. (Zukile Daniel, News24)

ACJ Phakade Primary School teachers have been robbed. (Zukile Daniel, News24)

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It was supposed to be a quiet Monday at ACJ Phakade Primary School in Nomzamo, Strand, as teachers prepared end-of-term reports after a busy term of projects and exams.

However, everything changed quickly just before school started.

"On Monday, when we [were] arriving at about 07:45, we just heard the screaming of the teachers from the parking areas, saying: 'There are people that are robbing us with guns,'" said principal Thobile Majingo.

READ Western Cape school robberies: Sadtu concerned, dept offers reward

The school had just become the fifth target of a band of armed school robbers who steal cars from teachers.

About five men pointed guns at the staff, demanding their car keys, Majingo explained.

"We're just confused and traumatised," he said.

Vehicles recovered

CCTV footage shows the robbers slipping into the school through the gate behind the teachers in the parking lot.

Fortunately, nobody was injured during the robbery, and only a handful of the 1 369 primary school children knew what was happening, said Majingo.

Two of the three vehicles that were stolen have since been recovered - one thanks to the sharp eyes of a parent who spotted the car parked in a suburb nearby, he added.

However, one teacher is inconsolable as their Toyota Fortuner is still missing. The teacher took a day off after the robbery.

The Western Cape department of education has offered a R10 000 reward for information that will lead to an arrest and conviction.

Since the robbery, two security guards have been posted at the school. The school has also been promised a remote-controlled entry system that will be installed during the forthcoming school holidays.

Majingo said the community, parents, education MEC Debbie Schäfer and ward councillors had visited and all rallied around the school, offering them support as they work through the nightmare of what happened.

"We are recovering very well, I mean it's better than Monday when the incident took place, so I can say we are coping, we are fine," said Majingo.

Last year pupils at the school lost one of their own when 5-year-old Minentle Lekhatha was kidnapped, raped and murdered.

Xolani Lantu received a sentence of five years in jail for kidnapping and a life sentence each for two counts of rape and a count of murder.

He said he did it because of a dispute with the child's grandmother.

Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk confirmed two of the vehicles had been recovered, but was tight-lipped on the investigation into tracking down the suspects in five school robberies since May 16.

The other four schools hit so far are:

  •     May 16 – Ummangaliso Primary School, in Site B, Khayelitsha, about 30km south east of Cape Town;
  •     May 24 – Intshayalelo Primary School, Lingelethu West, also Khayelitsha;
  •     May 29 – Lwandle Primary School, also Lingelethu West;
  •     May 30 – Vukukhanye Primary School, Gugulethu, about 15km south east of Cape Town near the airport.

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