Several schools in the Western Cape have been vandalised, forcing the Education Department to step in.
The Western Cape Education Department said 38 schools in the province have been vandalised and burgled over the July school holidays.
In one incident, a security guard lost his life while approaching the perpetrators.
Western Cape Education MEC, Debbie Schäfer has called on communities to protect schools from these incidents.
“I am extremely disappointed that our schools have once again been targeted by ruthless criminals while closed for the holidays. Our schools are already operating in difficult circumstances, and the last thing they need is to be further disrupted by damages and theft,” Schäfer said.
The incidents have affected these schools which have now lost infrastructure and equipment.
"Items stolen over the holidays included sports equipment, gardening and maintenance equipment, fencing, building fixtures, lighting and electrical cables, IT equipment, stationery, kitchen equipment, and food for school meals. Even where nothing was stolen, the attempts by these criminals to gain access to a school property caused damage to infrastructure."
Schäfer said the stolen items will most likely be sold to the public, and has called on anyone who is targeted to purchase the items to report it immediately.
While the cost of the damage remains unknown, Schäfer is disappointed that the department will have to spend money on repairs.
"While the total cost of repairs and replacing stolen goods is still being assessed, the Department spent an estimated R10 million repairing damages in the 2020/21 financial year – money that could have been spent on supporting our schools."
"I once again urge the public to report any suspicious activity in the vicinity of schools to SAPS or the Safe Schools hotline (0800 45 46 47) immediately." she added.