For the Western Cape, the December holidays came with bad tidings as 27 schools were vandalised over the festive period. The damage is estimated to be around R400 000, and includes theft, burglary and destruction of school property.
“While we can and do try to safeguard our schools with additional security measures, we cannot win the fight against school burglary and vandalism without the community,” said Western Cape Education MEC, Debbie Schaffer to News24.
The department reported that at one school, a feeding kitchen had been targeted, where over 100 kg of food was stolen. Other schools across the province reported theft of copper pipes, electrical cabling, computer equipment and school stationery. The damage was also done to classrooms, school halls, computer labs, windows, sporting equipment and theft of light fittings.
“It is devastating that people are prepared to do this to schools, when we know the desperate needs in education and the inadequacy of our budget to cope with them. We should be using these funds to build new schools, improve existing schools, appoint additional teachers and generally improve opportunities for children,” added Schaffer.
The MEC also stated that school vandalism was not only a cost of the department, but learners and community as well. She urged the community and schools to be careful throughout the year and to immediately report any suspicious behaviour or activities that occur within the vicinity of their schools.