- Two schools were robbed in Gauteng.
- A principal was assaulted, while other employees were held hostage.
- The affected staff are currently receiving trauma counselling.
A school principal was assaulted in front of her colleagues, while laptops, car keys and petty cash were among the valuable items stolen during two armed robberies at Gauteng schools, the provincial education department said on Wednesday.
Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said the armed robberies were concerning.
On Monday afternoon, three men approached the Caiphus Nyoka Secondary School gate and requested that the gate be opened, under the pretence that they had an appointment with the principal, department spokesperson Steve Mabona said.
When they arrived at the office, they drew firearms and ordered the principal, patroller, administrator and the deputy principal to lie down on the floor.
Mabona said the men allegedly proceeded to assault the principal in front of her colleagues.
"It is reported by those who witnessed this abuse that the suspects informed the principal she was not wanted by some community members at the school," Mabona added.
They emptied the victims' bags and took their car keys, cellphones and laptops.
Mabona said that, after leaving the scene, a pupil from a neighbouring school brought the car keys of both the principal and deputy principal, indicating that unknown men had given the keys and told him to take it to the school.
Meanwhile, a general assistant at Leeuwpoort Primary School was reportedly confronted by four armed men on Saturday afternoon. He was held hostage, while they ransacked the administration block.
The four unidentified intruders allegedly tied the assistant with an electric cord, and made him lie face down on the floor, said Mabona.
"They demanded all the keys, so that they could open all the offices. However, they only managed to open the storeroom and forced their way into the staffroom, admin office, deputy principal's office as well as the ceiling of the storeroom," he said.
Among the items stolen were a laptop, a music sound system, grass trimmer, leaf blower, grinder, sanitisers, nutrition stock, milk packs and R250 petty cash.
Mabona said the group caused a significant amount of damage to the offices, and they also vandalised the camera server and alarm system radio.
"The estimated value of the damage is still to be determined."
Lesufi discouraged residents from threatening the lives of employees with violence as they play a significant role in community development.
"Schools and their employees must be protected by the community at all costs. We continue to denounce all criminals who derail the future of our children by stealing from our schools. How can people steal the food of their children or fellow community members? Indeed, this is sad," Lesufi added.
Affected employees are receiving trauma counselling from employee wellness, while the psychosocial team was sent to the schools.
Comment from the police will be added, if received.