The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) is perturbed and has learnt with great disappointment the reports of break-ins and theft of ICT equipment and School Nutrition stock at our schools in particular Masizane Primary, Thohoyandou Primary and Flavius Mareka Secondary Schools as well as the theft of computers and nutrition stock. The department is extremely concerned that valuable resources which are meant to enhance the delivery of quality education to learners are seen by some as an opportunity to feed their criminal deeds and rob our learners of their right to quality basic education.
It is alleged that criminals also broke into Dr WF Nkomo High School and stole laptops, computers and all nutrition stock at the said school. The schools reported these matters to the police and cases of theft and damage to property have been opened.
“We are convinced that there is a syndicate targeting our schools after four schools in the same area suffered in the hands of criminals in this manner. We call upon police to conduct a thorough investigation and arrest those responsible. It is really disappointing that criminals are targeting our schools which are meant to benefit communities. Communities must defend schools,” said MEC Panyaza Lesufi.
The department`s approach to school safety includes the following:
- Ensuring that all public schools implement their approved School Safety policies through increased monitoring by departmental officials (Head office and districts);
- Strengthening the GDE/SAPS linking of schools to local police stations partnership;
- Capacitating School Safety Committees to improve their functionality and efficiency (SAPS,GDE and Department of Community Safety will work together on this programme);
- Deploying armed security and patrollers during the day) supported by surveillance cameras. The number of schools with this level of security will increase annually;
- Continuing of search and seizure operations in schools;
- Prioritising poor fencing and decaying infrastructure to improve school safety.
The Department would like to make an appeal to members of the community who might have information that could lead to the arrest of these criminals to come forward and present this information to the law enforcement agencies in order for the these criminals to face the full might of law.