Thieves wreak havoc at Nomlinganiselo

Foreman at Nomlinganiselo Primary School, Mxolisi Fokothi, points to some damage caused by thieves at the school.

Teachers at Nomlinganiselo Primary School, in Crossroad, are in shock after criminals vandalised the school’s administration building in the early hours on Thursday, October 3.

Two store rooms, the secretary’s office, principal’s office, deputy principal’s office and the office of the head of department (HOD) were vandalised during the

Among others, they stole six computers, two grass cutters a television set, and destroyed the school’s entire CCTV system.

It is believed the criminals gained entry by smashing a window in the deputy principal’s office.

When Vukani arrived at the school, tables and doors were broken while pieces of glass were scattered on the floor. Ceilings and electrical cables had been stripped in some offices.

Shocked and visibly upset, teachers said the school had had numerous burglaries since the start of the year.

School deputy principal, Dutyiswa Sikhosana, said she received a call in the early hours on Thursday from the school’s neighbour informing her about the break-in.

She claimed she immediately phoned Gugulethu police, but was told no vans were available and she should wait.

“I phoned the police four times and they kept telling me the same thing. After that I phoned the principal to inform her that a robbery was taking place at the school. She then opened a case at Gugulethu police station,” she said.

Ms Sikhosana said towards the end of September the school had been vandalised and two computers as well as other valuable equipment had been stolen.

She said on that occasion they had only broken into the office of the principal and the secretary.

In August, she said, the entire school CCTV system was vandalised and stolen, costing the school about R120 000 to re-install a new system. She claimed that the department promised to employ a security guard to look after the school at night but that never happened. “We have been robbed before but this time they have totally wiped us out,” she said.

Ms Sikhosana estimated the damage to be more than R400 000. She appealed to the community to the school as it was there to serve them. She believed the perpetrators were familiar with the school.

Gugulethu police spokesperson Captain Elliott Sinyangana confirmed the break-in, saying: “ A case of school burglary has been opened. No arrests have been made yet. “We are still investigating and we urge the community members who might have any information that could lead to the arrest of the criminals to inform us,” he said.

Jessica Shelver, spokesperson for Education MEC Debbie Schafer, said the school had an alarm system which was linked to an armed response company.

However, she said, the armed response company had not responded when the incidents occurred, and an investigation has been launched into this.

She added that the deputy principal had indicated that the District Safe Schools Co-ordinator had approved the deployment of emergency security after the second burglary but the school had failed to appoint a security company.

“The Education District Office has once again given the school approval for emergency security to be appointed for a fortnight. The co-operation of the community is essential in order to combat learner vandalism and to create a safe school environment that promotes teaching and learning. We urge community members to be extra vigilant throughout the year and to immediately report any suspicious behaviour or activities that occur within the vicinity of their schools to report this immediately,” she said.