The Gauteng Department of Education strongly believes that the spate of burglaries at schools in Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria, is the work of a syndicate operating in the area and surrounds.
These break-ins first came to light during a visit to schools in Atteridgeville by DA Gauteng shadow MEC for education, Khume Ramulifho.
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said he was concerned about a spate of burglaries experienced in schools – especially in Atteridgeville – where criminals stole computers and National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) stock.
It is alleged that, in the early hours of Friday, criminals forcefully gained entry at Masizane Primary School, tied up the security guard, broke into the school admin block, and stole about seven computers, two tablets, and all nutrition stock.
Panyaza said it is unfortunate that, in the very same morning, Thohoyandou Primary School was also hit by the robbers and they also looted four computers and all NSNP stock.
“We strongly believe that there is a syndicate operating in the area, because these activities started on Tuesday, March 20, 2018, where Flavius Mareka Secondary School was broken into and the criminals made off with the entire NSNP stock. It must be noted that police cases have been opened accordingly,” Lesufi said.
“We strongly condemn these criminal acts which seek to undermine our effort to provide food to our children at school. It is paramount noting that most of the learners at the said schools are from disadvantaged communities and as such we must provide food to them every day.”
Lesufi urged community members to “avail any information that might assist the police to apprehend culprits”. He added: “Our schools cannot afford to be a haven for criminals. This cannot be tolerated.”