Lockdown: Thieves vandalise 5 schools in the Vaal, steal equipment and groceries

Criminals have taken advantage of the current lockdown, vandalising and stealing items at four primary schools and a secondary school in the Vaal. 

Four of the targeted schools are in Evaton and one is in Orange Farm. 

So far, two suspects have been arrested.

The five schools have lost valuable equipment and groceries due to the burglaries. 

Gauteng education department spokesperson Steve Mabona said crimes of this nature undermined the proper functioning of schools and required a collaborative effort to detect, prosecute and eliminate. 

Mabona added the cases were reported to the police for investigation.

The latest incident took place at Mofolo Primary School in Evaton on Friday. The principal was informed about the break-in by residents. 

Mabona said the department had not yet established what items were stolen at the school.

READ | Pupils and teachers 'stranded' after armed robberies at Gauteng schools

"Criminals also broke into Tsokodibane Primary School in Evaton on Thursday. According to information provided by community members to the principal, all the classrooms were burgled and vandalised and cupboards were broken. 

"The criminals made off with heaters, wall plugs, electric cables, circuit breakers and window handles. Fortunately, the administration block was spared during the raid," said Mabona.

At Beverly High School in Evaton, they broke into an administration block and made off with printers, computers, 14 floodlights, a microwave oven and groceries. 

"The principal was alerted by members of the community on Wednesday about the break-in. Information at our disposal suggests that the criminals gained access to the administration block through the roof.

"Katleho Impulelelo Primary School in Orange Farm was broken into twice on 23 and 31 March. The community alerted the school principal. 

"The police should be congratulated for their swift action in arresting two suspects after the matter was reported at the Sebokeng police station. The suspects are currently in police custody," Mabona said.

At Dinokaneng Secondary School in Evaton, 250 chairs were stolen.

Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi condemned the break-ins and asked residents to call the police if they have any information.

"These incidents are indicative of a trend to take advantage of school holidays. In the context of the current lockdown, the Department of Community Safety has been alerted to intervene in what seems to be well-orchestrated criminal activity against the schools. 

"Members of the community who reported the incidents should be congratulated and the police should be thanked for their speedy response," said Lesufi. 

He also pleaded with residents not to buy stolen goods from the schools.

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