With the evergrowing crime rate in the Western Cape not even schools are safe from vandalism and burglary. Shocking figures reflect that there has been a drastic increase in the amount of school burglary and vandalism cases from January to June last year in comparison to this year. Minister of Education in the Western Cape, Debbie Schafer has indicated that local government is deeply concerned with the statistics. Schafer has also indicated that the vandalism and burglaries of schools in the province are draining the local education department’s budget.
“The figures are shocking. I’m really concerned,” said Schafer.
“There’s been an increase from last year. From January to June last year, there were 395 schools affected and now it is 471 schools from the beginning of this year. That is averaging out at two schools per day being burgled or vandalised.”
Schafer said that the issues aren’t only limited to the poorer cape flats areas but stretch across the province. She has also indicated that the severity of crime in the Western Cape has resulted in some security companies refusing to be posted at certain schools.
“The issue is predominantly affecting poorer communities but is province wide. They [the burglars] take everything and anything they want – computers are stolen, copper piping, whatever they can sell. We even had a school last week where teachers were held up at gunpoint and robbed of their valuables,” said Schafer.
“We have to get communities involved because often the people doing these things are from the community and people know who they are. We need communities to help us and take ownership of their schools.”
Schafer added that the local department of education is prioritising schools and works in coordination with other local departments in an effort to improve school safety and security. She also highlighted that the crime rate has a tremendous impact on the local education department’s budget, which is meant to assist with improving the education system and school facilities.
“We can’t keep spending money on issues that aren’t within our mandate.”
Community members are urged to contact the following numbers when they see a crime being committed or have useful information relating to crime involving schools in the province:
Police Flying Squad (SAPS) – 10111
Safe Schools hotline – 0800 45 46 47