At least seven WC schools vandalised, burgled during lockdown so far
The Western Cape Education Department (WECD) says there is usually a high number of incidents during the school holiday period, but burglaries and vandalism are happening at the moment during daylight hours as well as at night.
WCED Director of Communications Bronagh Hammond says burglars are targeting computers, door locks and electric cables among others.
She notes this is despite additional security measures being implemented.
There were seven during the lockdown period and we had about 16 during the time that schools closed from the 20th of March. The numbers have increased this week; we are collating that data.Bronagh Hammond, Director of Communications - Western Cape Education Department
The numbers are not exceeding any usual numbers for this length of period in terms of school holiday vandalism. However, we believe that any case of vandalism is one too many.Bronagh Hammond, Director of Communications - Western Cape Education Department
In many of these incidents where there was vandalism there were security guards on site even in the night time when they hit the schools, but our schools are such large spaces that these guards cannot always protect the whole perimeter.Bronagh Hammond, Director of Communications - Western Cape Education Department
She says the department is addressing the situation, but points out that extra security on top of what is already being provided, is beyond its budget.
If you put ten security guards at one school you know they [criminals] could hit the next school down the road where we haven't put security. To put security guards at all schools across the province - we do not have the budget for that.Bronagh Hammond, Director of Communications - Western Cape Education Department
The minister does follow up on all of these cases because she feels very strongly that there should be a strong message that goes out to all communities that our schools are no-go areas for burglary and vandalismBronagh Hammond, Director of Communications - Western Cape Education Department
Bronagh urged communities to be on the lookout as far as possible within the lockdown regulations, for example those who live close to schools to keep an eye out from their windows.
At the same time we are concerned during this lockdown about the poverty levels and the desperation of some families and communities to acquire additional income to survive... That's where we do fear there will be a spillover into schools.Bronagh Hammond, Director of Communications - Western Cape Education Department
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