The City of Cape Town is calling on Lwandle residents to help nab thieves who stole cables at Hector Peterson Library two weeks ago.
This resulted in the library not operating and it is believed the thieves used the power outage to commit this crime.
The thieves broke into the library and cables linked to the air conditioning system were stolen, which required replacement and installation repair work of more than R20 000.
The City’s Library and Information Service recorded several break ins over the past few weeks. It says criminals targeted at least seven libraries. It says while final damage assessments are still pending, initial estimates point to losses of more than R100 000.
“The continued theft and vandalism at our libraries is worrying as criminals show no respect for their community and municipal services. Vandalism has a domino effect as it could take months to repair the damage and to get all the services back in operation,” said Zahid Badroodien, the City’s Mayco member for Community Services and Health.
He said the net result is limited or no access to safe study spaces for our patrons, while also robbing them of opportunities to use the internet facilities at our libraries.
Librarian Asanda Ndaliso said the incident left them unable to circulate books or access their emails.
“Our phones were also off and this meant we could not work properly. The community need to know that this is their facility not us as workers of this library,” said Ndaliso.
She said when a library is broken into it is the same community that suffers.
“We appeal to the residents of the area to be ears and eyes for this library. They must always look after this place and the break-ins should come to a stop,” she said.
Badroodien said vandalism of libraries goes much further than the criminal offence of destruction of council property or breaking and entering.
“It has a far reaching effect, as some libraries that experience vandalism or break-ins need to be closed to the public depending on the nature of the damage, and could take months before being reopened.
We have also seen some instances where libraries were vandalised for no apparent reason - where nothing was stolen,” he said.
Badroodien said it does not make sense to break down a facility that provides important services to the community.
“We would like to once again request our communities and neighbourhood watches to be on the lookout for any suspicious behaviour at community libraries and to report it immediately.
“Criminals will continue their senseless acts of destruction until they are brought to book,” he urged.
The vandals live in the very communities that they are stripping bare, and they will not stop until they are held accountable for their actions, said Badroodien.
“We need the community to help identify these culprits and save our precious resources,” he added.
The City appeals to anyone who has information to come forward and report it to the police. The City of Cape Town is offering a R5 000 reward for information that leads to the successful arrest or conviction of perpetrators.