Nelson Mandela Bay school break-ins spike during lockdown

WANTON VANDALISM: Die Heuwel Primary school in Hillside is one of 30 schools in the province that have been ransacked Image: Supplied
Laptops, tablets, electric cables, and printers are some of the things looters have stolen from more than 10 schools in Nelson Mandela Bay over the past two weeks.

Provincial education department spokesperson Loyiso Pulumani said school break-ins had become prevalent during the lockdown and across the province about 30 had been reported.

Schools were broken into in New Brighton, Kwazakhele, Zwide, Joe Slovo and the Gelvandale area.

The most recent incident happened at Die Heuwel Primary School in Hillside, where a classroom was ransacked and a printer stolen.

Education development officer Walter Asheen said the principal had made him aware of the incident, but it had not yet been reported to the department.

“I am aware that there have been several schools that were broken into around the area,” Asheen said, adding that a criminal complaint had been laid.

Police spokesperson Captain Sandra Janse Van Rensburg confirmed that there had been a break-in at the school at the weekend.

“Gelvandale detectives are investigating a case of housebreaking which allegedly took place at Die Heuwel Primary School.

“It is alleged that everything was in order at the school on April 10, however the security guard noticed a broken window in one of the rooms on Tuesday.

“It was then established that a photocopy machine had been stolen.” Janse Van Rensburg said.

The classroom was also ransacked.

She said the suspects were unknown and an investigation was under way.

Pulumani identified Lower Mateko Primary School in the OR Tambo area as one of the worst-hit schools in the province.

“The burglary happened on April 7 and at least 27 laptops for pupils were stolen as well as 10 teacher laptops and a printer.”

Pulumani said other items being stolen were electric cables and gas cylinders.

“The department is perturbed by the reports of wanton waste and destruction of school property and loss of valuable equipment.

“We condemn this in the strongest terms.

“We pray that these criminals will be brought to book as soon as possible.

“The provincial department, in the meantime, is collating the damage and the department’s infrastructure planning section will see to it that this does not waste time when schools need to be reopened,” Pulumani said.

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga said she was working closely with police minister Bheki Cele to ensure prosecutions.

“It is quite disheartening that criminal elements in our communities can destroy the infrastructure with such apparent impunity, the same infrastructure meant to provide decent spaces of learning and teaching meant for our children,” Motshekga said.

BY ZIZONKE MAY – HeraldLIVE

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