Tue. Jan 19th, 2021

Vandalism of schools: 130 suspects arrested in Gauteng since March

It’s no secret. While the lockdown has reduced some areas of crime, schools have unfortunately become the targets of vandalism and burglary.

vandalism of schools 130 suspects arrested in gauteng since march - Vandalism of schools: 130 suspects arrested in Gauteng since March

According to the South African Police Service (Saps) in Gauteng, police have now arrested 130 suspects for cases related to burglary, vandalism and torching of schools since March.  

The nationwide lockdown began on Thursday 26 March and since then, many schools across the country have been targeted. 

Police said several items, taken from the schools during the burglaries, were recovered.

BREAK-INS BY DISTRICT IN GAUTENG 

After experiencing an increase in the number of schools broken into, the Gauteng Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela appointed a team consisting of different police units to look into the matter. He also called for the community to report any suspicious criminal activities inside the schools.

The collaboration between the police and the community has since yielded positive results as most of the suspects were arrested following a tip-off from community members.

The latest breakdown of the arrests per district are as follows:

  • Johannesburg (including Soweto) – 42
  • Tshwane – 41
  • Sedibeng – 11
  • Ekurhuleni – 25
  • West Rand – 11

A suspect was apprehended with the help of the community of Ext 4 in Kwa Thema on Thursday 14 May. 

“The suspect was found red-handed inside Nkumbulo High School premises,” said Police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo. 

“The suspect was found in possession of stolen items that include appliances, kitchen utensils, cleaning material, taps, electrical cords, [a] blanket and some groceries,” added Masondo. 

In a separate incident, police in Pretoria West responded swiftly on Saturday 16 May after receiving information about a burglary in progress at Lotus Gardens Secondary School. 

“One suspect was arrested inside the school. Preliminary investigations revealed that the suspect gained entry through the roof whereby tiles were removed and ceiling damaged,” said Masondo. 

fe83a4f2 screenshot 2020 05 18 at 16.22.17 - Vandalism of schools: 130 suspects arrested in Gauteng since March
Image via: Saps

REOPENING OF SCHOOLS STILL A MYSTERY

The Department of Basic Education was supposed to hold a briefing on Monday 18 May regarding the reopening of schools, however, it was postponed until Tuesday 19 May. 

This is also not the first time the department has postponed a briefing. 

The last we heard, the department is looking to have pupils return to school next month and have, through a draft proposal, hinted that Grade 7’s and Grade 12’s would be the first to return to school when safe to do so.

It’s understood that the Education Department is also considering putting more than 150 000 Grade 12 students into ‘special learning camps’ away from home, for a period of five weeks.

Whether the department sticks with this approach or not, we’ll have to wait until Tuesday to find out.

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