42 Western Cape schools vandalised over winter holiday

417 schools received holiday security from the Western Cape Education Department over the June/July school holidays. We thank our school communities for keeping a close eye on our schools and reporting suspicious activity in their areas.

Despite this, 42 schools have reported incidents of vandalism and burglary during this period. This is a small increase compared to the same holidays last year, when 38 schools reported incidents.

Fortunately, almost all of the incidents were minor in nature. Items stolen or damaged included bathroom fixtures, fencing, solar panels, consumables such as stationery and cleaning materials, tablets and ICT equipment, security and electrical equipment, and bicycles. Criminals event looted packs of sanitary pads and first aid kits!

However, one major incident involved damages estimated at over R121 000. The total cost of all the incidents is currently estimated at R808 600, with the estimates for some of the incidents still outstanding. That means that nearly a million rand that could have been spend on educating our learners now must be spent on fixing wanton damage.

Of particular concern is that some of the schools which fell victim to crime over the holidays had security guards, cameras, and other security features in place. We need to better understand what our schools need to ensure that they are safe from criminal attacks.

Community participation plays a pivotal role in keeping our schools safe. One of our World’s Best Schools finalists, West End Primary School, has not been vandalised in 10 years – despite its location in a community battling with various socio-economic issues. I intend to visit the school and others like it that have mobilised the surrounding community to take ownership of and protect the schools of the Western Cape.

Our schools have reported the cases to SAPS, and I will seek a meeting with the provincial police commissioner, Lieutenant-General Thembisile Patekile, to discuss progress on these and the cases reported by our schools and the Department previously.

Source: Government of South Africa