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‘Stop the onslaught on our libraries’: Thieves and vandals strike in Cape Town

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Water pipes, paving, barbed wire fencing, computers, solar panels, a desk telephone and even a front door handle.

These are among the items stolen in what city authorities have described as an “unabated onslaught” by thieves and vandals on public libraries in Cape Town.

Tafelsig Library was targeted by burglars who gained entry via the roof in the latest incident on Sunday. Computers, a monitor, media screen, smart television, a desk telephone and speaker were stolen.

“The unabated onslaught on our libraries cannot continue. Costs linked to vandalism and theft since July will surpass R2m by the end of this year. This includes the R1m we’ll spend on security,” said councillor Patricia van der Ross, the city’s mayoral committee member for community services and health.

“For many of our patrons, the library is the only quiet space to study or take a break from life’s stress. It’s not only physical items being stolen. The thieves also rob our students of important access to resources and the community of their comfort zones.”

Many of the incidents result in the temporary closure of the facility for repairs or cut off the supply of water in the case of stolen pipes.

The city encouraged residents in affected areas to assist in bringing the culprits to book. Anonymous tip-offs can be made by calling 0800 11 0077 or contacting the police.

“There are no winners when libraries are vandalised or burgled. Communities must take ownership of these spaces and work with the city to put an end to these crimes,” said Van der Ross.

Source: TimesLive


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