'Our schools are a hunting ground for criminals' - department shocked as thieves make off with R500k in equipment

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi. (Sandile Ndlovu, Gallo)
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi. (Sandile Ndlovu, Gallo)

The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) says it is shocked by a break-in at Khulasizwe Primary School in Tembisa on Thursday which saw criminals walk away with over R500 000 worth of electronic equipment.

"According to the information at our disposal, the school’s alarm system was triggered by the burglary, which alerted the armed response, who in turn notified the police.  It is so unfortunate that the perpetrators had already left the premises when police arrived," department spokesperson Steve Mabona said in a statement on Thursday.

The perpetrators made off with 41 laptops, 25 desk-top computers, 25 tablets, 2 projectors - all estimated to be valued at R500 000 as well as R1 900 in petty cash.

This was captured in CCTV footage published by Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi on his social media page.

The department has further expressed concern that criminals are robbing children of a quality education by stealing valuable resources in schools aimed at enhancing the delivery of quality education.

"Our schools are hunting grounds for criminals. We would like to appeal to the community at large to work collectively with law enforcement agencies and bring forth any information that will ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book and justice is served. We can't postpone the future of our children," Lesufi said.

A case has since been opened with the South African Police Services (SAPS) and investigations are ongoing, Mabona added.

"I can confirm that the incident has been reported to police at Tembisa SAPS. A case of business burglary will be investigated. No suspect(s) have been arrested and police are appealing to anyone with information to report to Tembisa police," Brigadier Mathapelo Peters told News24. 

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