Lesufi ‘horrified’ as robbers, arsonists hit 21 schools in Gauteng

Lesufi ‘horrified’ as robbers, arsonists hit 21 schools in Gauteng

Screenshot of a Twitter video where thieves left a message after breaking in and stealing equipment. Picture: Panyaza Lesufi/Twitter

Three schools were also gutted by fire due to suspected arson, while valuable equipment and school nutrition groceries were stolen during the burglaries.

Gauteng Education MEC Mr Panyaza Lesufi is horrified that at least 21 schools were burgled and vandalized during the 21-day lockdown period, the department said in a statement.

“The Department has witnessed about twenty one (21) criminal activities at different schools which accordingly are indicative of a trend by criminals to take advantage of the 21-day lockdown to rob and vandalise schools.

“However, it must be noted that such incidents are normally experienced during school recess, as by nature schools are often soft targets because of quietness and lack of activity around them during the said period.

Criminals took advantage of the lockdown to break-in and vandalise eighteen (18) schools in Gauteng.

The schools are:

1. Mofolo Primary School in Evaton;
2. Tsokodibane Primary School in Evaton;
3. Beverly High School in Evaton;
4. Katleho Impumelo Primary School in Sebokeng; and
5. Dinokaneng Secondary School in Evaton;
6. Phuthanang Primary School in Soshanguve;
7. Lotus Gardens Secondary School in Lotus Gardens;
8. Makhosini Secondary School in Soshanguve;
9. Nonto Primary School in Soweto;
10. Isipho Primary School in Soweto;
11. Bervelly Primary School in Sebokeng;
12. Ikokobetse Primary School in Bophelong;
13. Atlehang Primary School in Mabopane;
14. Pholosho Primary School in Tsakane;
15. Caiphus Nyoka Secondary in Etwatwa;
16. Tlakula Secondary School in KwaThema;
17. Tembisa High School in Tembisa;
18. Leondale Secondary School in Leondale.”

Valuable equipment and school nutrition groceries were stolen during the burglaries, the department said, and it must be emphasized that this will have a huge impact and affect proper functioning of schools.

Fire erupted at three schools in Tshwane because of suspected premeditated arson.

The following three schools were destroyed by fire:

• Amogelang Secondary School in Soshanguve;
• Lethabong Secondary School in Soshanguve; and
• Phuthanang Primary school in Soshanguve

“We think a collective effort to detect and report incidents to law enforcement agencies might yield positive results in curbing this criminality,” the statement said.

“SGB Associations are advised to reinforce security measures. Members of the Community are encouraged to protect their schools and report incidents swiftly.

“Members of the Community are also urged to not to buy stolen goods.

“We wish to reiterate our plea to the Police to continue prioritize schools’ patrols; and conduct thorough investigations to apprehend perpetrators.”

“This is appalling and unbelievable, that we are actually on day 12 of the Lockdown, one ponders on how will the picture look like after this period. The members of the community are encouraged to continue report to the police. Indeed we cannot allow this barbarism to continue (to) rob our children their future,” said Lesufi.

(Compiled by Carina Koen.)

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