The Democratic Alliance has urged the basic education department to work closely with the South African Police Service (SAPS) to ensure maximum police visibility at schools during the coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown.
This followed Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s confirmation that 397 schools had been vandalised across the country since the lockdown, DA shadow minister of basic education Nomsa Marchesi said in a statement on Saturday.
Mpumalanga, Gauteng, the Western Cape, and the North West were the hardest hit with each having more than 50 schools affected. The DA strongly condemned these acts of vandalism.
There was an urgent need to put preventative measures in place to protect schools from being soft targets for criminals. This was because opportunists and criminals were taking advantage of the lockdown and it was therefore critical that there was increased police visibility at schools during this time, Marchesi said.
Motshekga had confirmed that the damage at schools had primarily been caused by vandalism and theft. It was also telling that perpetrators had now started to target nutrition centres where food items were stored.
“It speaks to the increased desperation for food during this lockdown. These acts, however, will cause immeasurable damage to the functioning of schools and on the education of learners post the lockdown. It is, therefore, critically important for minister Motshekga to engage Police Minister Bheki Cele to find urgent solutions which will enable the SAPS to patrol high-risk schools,” Marchesi said.