The provincial Department of Education has offered a reward of R100 000 to anyone with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of criminals who robbed teachers and staff at four different schools in recent weeks.
This comes after teachers and staff at Lwandle Primary School in Khayelitsha were robbed by three armed criminals on Tuesday May 29.
The robbers stormed at the school premises, held teachers at gunpoint and took seven cellphones and one laptop.
They then quickly moved into the reception office where they fired one shot into the floor which ricocheted and grazed the hand of a Grade R teacher.
Three weeks ago, Umm-angaliso and Intshayelelo primary schools, both in Khayelistha, and Vukukhanye Primary in Gugulethu were targeted.
In a statement released by Education MEC Debbie Schafer, she said the four separate armed attacks in the past three weeks had been timed to take place just after the school day had ended, while pupils and teachers were still participating in after-school activities and meetings.
Teachers and staff were threatened at gunpoint and were robbed of personal items, she said, adding that school equipment had been stolen and, in one case, a vehicle hijacked on the premises.
“I am just extremely grateful that no learner or educator has been fatally harmed during these attacks.
In all four incidents, however, it has left our staff traumatised and in fear of their safety,” she said.
Lwandle Primary’s principal Stanley Maqubela, said the incident occurred in the afternoon after they had opened the school gates to allow the pupils to leave.
He said the school gates were remote controlled and it seemed that the criminals had been monitoring the school for sometime and knew what time the gates were being opened for the pupils.
He said the criminals robbed them while he was having a discussion with guests about various ways of beefing up the security measures at the school.
“They took seven cellphones of the staff including my laptop. When I heard the gunshot I thought maybe one of the school staff was shot and we all feared for our lives.
“The incident took about 10 minutes but it has left us fearing for our lives.
“We are concerned about the safety of the children as well as our lives.
“Criminals know that our schools are equipped with laptops and cellphones and we do not have tight security measures. Last year there was a burglary at the school and all of the newly donated tablets were taken including my laptop – and now we are robbed,” he said.
He said he has engaged the school governing body (SGB) and other community stakeholders about this incident and they are working around the clock to improve security.
Chairperson of the school’s SGB, Luyanda Zokoza said they were relieved that no lives had been lost.
He described the incident as senseless and called for the police to work tirelessly to apprehend the perpetrators.
Lingelethu police station spokesperson Sergeant Xoliswa Nyalambisa, said a case of robbery had been opened at the station and was being investigated.