Holiday vandalism, theft at Western Cape schools cost R500K

2016-07-20 17:32
School desks. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

School desks. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town – Twenty-one Western Cape schools were burgled or vandalised during the winter school holidays, the province's education MEC said on Wednesday.

The worst damage was caused by an arson attack at an Athlone school, which would cost more than R100 000 to fix, Debbie Schafer said in a statement.

So far, the cost of the repairs for just over half the schools was around R500 000. 

A total of 18 incidents were reported in the same period in 2015.

This year, most were reported in the Cape Winelands district, which had eight criminal acts, followed by the Metro Central district, with five.

"One school in district Metro Central was targeted on three separate occasions, despite having 24-hour security. Six schools were targeted twice during the holidays, which brings the total number of actual incidents to 30," Schafer said.

"All but one of the incidents was classified as minor, [where] the estimated cost of repairs is below R100 000 and the schools' ability to function is not impacted in any way."

In the Athlone arson case, an entire classroom was set alight. Desks, chairs, books and e-learning equipment were destroyed.

Schafer expressed disappointment at the increase in such crimes, despite increased security control measures at high-risk schools. Because school properties were large, it was difficult to monitor the entire perimeter all the time, she said. 

In most cases, criminals targeted ablution blocks, stealing copper piping, taps and cistern flush mechanisms. Cooking equipment and food was stolen from feeding scheme kitchens.

Read more on:    cape town  |  vandalism  |  education  |  crime
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