School burgled again

Acting deputy principal at Alpine Primary School, Zelma Johnson.

Alpine Primary School in Beacon Valley suffered its eighth break-in in just five months when thieves came in through the ceiling and made off with two kettles and a multi-plug on Friday May 31.

Mitchell’s Plain police said a 29-year-old man was caught inside the premises and arrested.

Police are investigating a case of burglary, said Captain Ian Williams, Mitchell’s Plain SAPS spokesperson.

Two microwaves and toilet paper were already packed up to be taken away, said the acting deputy principal at Alpine Primary School, Zelma Johnson.

There had been another break-in on Monday May 20 when the criminals made holes in the ceilings of the offices of the principal and deputy principal to access the building and stole two computer monitors, two computer hard drives, two computer mouses, two keyboards and stationery.

There are now multiple holes in the ceiling in the administration office and the damages will cost them, said Ms Johnson.

“It is very heartbreaking that in my 33 years of being a teacher at Alpine, we have to experience this. We had to replace the stolen computers from the computer labs the children make use of, we are depriving those pupils of their education by taking this away,” said Ms Johnson.

Western Cape Education Department spokesperson, Bronagh Hammond said the school could apply for emergency repairs and was on the fencing list.

“While this funding will not necessarily end violence in and around our schools, it will be used to provide and reinforce targeted security infrastructure support to schools.

“Unfortunately, despite the additional security support and enforcement, some of the schools still fall victim to vandalism and burglaries.”

In other incidents, CCTV cameras, ICT equipment and kitchen equipment as well as basins, flush mechanisms, copper wiring and pipes were stolen from schools. “To steal equipment that is designed to keep our staff and pupils safe, is unconscionable,” said Education MEC Debbie Schäfer.

Ms Schäfer said they wouldl be following these cases and in the event that perpetrators were arrested and found guilty, they would make input to the court in aggravation of sentence, requesting the maximum possible penalty.

“While we can and do try to safeguard our schools with additional security measures, we cannot win the fight against school burglary and vandalism without community support as schools, given their extensive physical infrastructure, are very difficult areas to secure.

“A school is a community asset. Tackling the scourge of burglary and vandalism at Western Cape schools is not a fight that we can tackle alone. Everyone should help protect schools as it is fundamental to the future of our children,” said Ms Schäfer.

“We appeal to all our communities to value their community schools and to support them by making them ‘no-go’ areas to crime.

“Our schools should be safe havens where pupils Enter to learn. Theft such as this threatens their opportunities,” said Ms Hammond.

If you would like to report this, the school can be contacted on 021 376 1321 for more information.