Computers, routers, cordless phones and other electronic equipment were stolen during a burglary at a centre for the disabled, in Nyanga, on Sunday night.
The thieves, who broke a back window to get into the Sonwabile Disabled Self Help Association, struck while the alarm was crippled by load shedding, said the centre’s manager Sudi Kampangura.
The non-profit organisation helps those living with disabilities, and Mr Kampangura said the burglary had disrupted their services because their clients had used the six stolen computers for computer training and to compile and print résumés, among other things.
The organisation started a computer programme during the pandemic when people with disabilities needed access to computers and the internet.
“I’m really devastated and really sad. This is the saddest day for us as an organisation,” said Mr Kampangura. “Remember, we only depend on funding. This has taken us by surprise because the premises have an alarm, but we suspect that the load shedding had an impact because the alarm did not go off. We have to start all over again.”
The organisation’s other services, which had been unaffected by the burglary, such as sewing and beadwork, would continue, he said.
“This happened at the wrong time when we thought we would try all we can to assist our people with computer training and skills. We always have been training our people to get jobs and skills. We have been training about 10 persons a month and all that work is now stopped by thieves.”
He appealed to anyone with information to come forward so the thieves could be apprehended.
Community police forum secretary Dumisani Qwebe condemned the incident and appealed to the public to notify the police if they were approached by someone trying to sell stolen items.
“Crime is a problem in these days of load shedding. We cannot run away from the truth that criminals know when to target places like Sonwabile. It is not the first time they attempted to rob this place. They have finally succeeded in breaking in,” he said.
Police spokeswoman Constable Nandisa Mpengesi said they were investigating but no arrests had been made. She appealed to anyone with information to come forward.