Thieves, taking advantage of the coronavirus lockdown have broken into a newly built “state-of-the-art” public school in KwaMashu and made off with all its Information and Communication Technology equipment worth a substantial amount.
It was among three schools that were broken into in KwaZulu-Natal over a 24 hour period and among 183 schools countrywide that had either been broken into or vandalized, the Department of Basic Education said.
“Our communities are indeed their own enemies,” said KZN Education MEC, Kwazi Mshengu on Twitter.
The Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga in a statement said she was horrified at the alarming number of schools which have been vandalised and damaged since the Covid-19 lockdown began.
The Ethekwini Primary school in KwaMashu was broken into on Sunday night. The thieves made off with three laptops, a microwave oven and 50 e-Readers.
“Education is paramount to the future of our young people and that of the country, and if you steal ICT infrastructure that is meant to enhance access to education then you are no different to someone who is stealing the future of the youth. We will push for harsh action to be taken against those who vandalise and steal learning support infrastructure in schools,” Mshengu said.
Our school at the heart of KwaMashu township was broken into last night and all ICT equipment stolen. Our communities are indeed their own enemies pic.twitter.com/sKYgZfjwnr
— Kwazi Mshengu (@MshenguKwazi) April 13, 2020
According to the Department of Basic Education, since the coronavirus lockdown began in late March,183 the number of schools vandalized around the country. Gauteng has reported 55 schools vandalised, Mpumalanga 72, North West 7 schools and KZN 3.
Motshekga has condemned the incidents of vandalism, burglary and destruction of schools across several provinces.
The department said the minister Minister is working with her counterpart, Police Minister Bheki Cele get to the bottom of these incidents.
“It is quite disheartening that criminal elements in our communities could destroy the infrastructure of their own children with such apparent impunity. I am in constant touch with the Minister of Police, and with the assistance of the State Intelligence Forces, we are following leads to the immediate arrest and prosecution of every single criminal responsible,” said Minister Motshekga.
MEC MSHENGU WARNS AGAINST ROBBING THE YOUTH OF THEIR FUTURE pic.twitter.com/pAibrqJaHh
— KZN Education (@DBE_KZN) April 13, 2020
She said communities were supposed to be caretakers of the infrastructure that government had put in place for the education of children.
“It is extremely disappointing for criminals, who are part of the community, to randomly destroy the same infrastructure meant to provide decent spaces of learning and teaching meant for our children”, said Minister Motshekga.
The Minister has urged community members to assist the police to identify the culprits, and not to buy items stolen from schools.
“These criminals must be reported to the police immediately. Let us work together to safeguard the future of our children by exposing these criminal elements,” she said.
The learners from these schools will be the hardest hit as there could be delays in the implementation of the curriculum recovery plan when school finally reopen.
Members of the community are urged to be on the look-out for people vandalizing schools or any public property.
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