WC Education MEC Debbie Schäfer made a shocking revelation on Thursday that after the recent holidays, it will cost the Western Cape education department an estimated R1m to repair the school infrastructure at vandalised schools at various locations across the province. These school properties were vandalised during the time pupils were away on holidays.
In her statement, the WC education MEC was especially angered by a disturbing news that a special needs school had been recorded as one of the vandalised schools targeted by burglars who stole 50 meters of fencing from the school.
Other materials reported missing during the incidents included theft of copper pipes, electrical cabling, computer equipment, an entire CCTV monitoring system as well as four CCTV cameras.
She lamented at the unreasonable actions that has left the vulnerable members of the society even more vulnerable.
“What kind of people would steal from our most vulnerable members of society and place them in a more vulnerable situation by stealing the very fence that helps protect them from external elements?
“It is reported that the foreman and two security guards on site called the police, but unfortunately they did not arrive in time to take action. The cost to repair the fence is more than R600 000. It is simply not possible to sustain this kind of expenditure on repairing stolen fencing.”
Because of risks of burglary and vandalism, additional security was supplied to high risk schools during the Easter school holidays, but still, 16 incidents were recorded.
“Damage to classrooms and school halls included theft of and damage to light fittings, broken windows and stolen sporting equipment. A feeding kitchen was yet again targeted, with food and cooking utensils being stolen.”
In two different incidents, the burglars broke into a woodwork classroom, stole more than R100 000 of power tools and equipments. They also targeted a store room where they stole power tools as well as gardening and maintenance equipment used in the school. She lamented;
“This deals a blow to our skills development, which provides learners with life opportunities.”
Schäfer confirmed that the education department has been spending about R10m annually on emergency repairs on vandalised schools resulting from major vandalism incidents.