Yesterday, learners and educators returned to school for the start of the third term.
On their return, the WCED was able to establish how many schools had been affected by burglaries and vandalism over the June/July holiday period.
Reports indicate that there was a drop in burglary and vandalism cases as compared to the figures for the last June/July holiday in 2010. Last year, there were 30 incidents reported to Safe Schools over this period, whereas this year, 26 cases were reported.
One case has been classified as a major incident, 23 as minor and two as negligible. In these two incidents, it was evident that a lock was tampered with, but no other damage caused.
The estimated costs of damages have also decreased this year. Last year, damages exceeded R260 000. Estimated costs for the June/July period 2011 are R160 000.
It is clear from the reports that the perpetrators mainly targeted electrical cables and copper pipes. Seven schools experienced cable theft, and three, copper theft.
The most serious case happened at a primary school in Belhar. Internet, alarm, telephone and intercom cables were all stolen. It is estimated that the costs will exceed R25 000.
I should like to thank Safe Schools, SAPS and members of the community for assisting in our efforts to curb burglary and vandalism at our schools. It is evident that their sustained efforts to protect our schools are again yielding improved results.
During the holiday period, the WCED’s Safe Schools programme increased security at high risk schools, as compared to last year. We put in place 24 hour security patrols at 185 identified schools and 250 schools were covered by cluster patrols during the holiday period.
I would like to remind community members and parents that school vandalism is an ongoing scourge. Therefore, we ask them to remain vigilant at all times, and report any suspicious behavior to their nearest police station as soon as possible.