NATIONAL NEWS - Last month saw 20 schools around Vhembe being vandalised. Thieves stole 24 laptops at Jonathan Thifhulufhelwi High School in Madombidzha, Tshishonga Primary School in Thohoyandou and Mphaphuli High School in Makwarela also had computers stolen.
Four people were arrested and they all appeared in the Thohoyandou Magistrate’s Court last week.
At Makumbane, thieves used force to remove a window to enter the storeroom and steal a refrigerator and electrical appliances last Thursday.
The Tshisaulu community has been lauded for their swift action after they recovered items that were stolen during the robbery.
The deputy-secretary of Makumbane’s School Governing Body, Rodney Magatshavha, said the school belonged to the community and that property must be respected.
“We need our children to enjoy education in good classroom conditions,” he added.
He praised the response of residents who marched to a house which supposedly belongs to one of the suspects.
“What is encouraging is that members of the community took it upon themselves to investigate the matter and found the goods belonging to the school at the house of one of the suspects. Regrettably, the suspects are still on the run but a criminal case has since been opened at the Thohoyandou Police Station.”
From the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) in Limpopo, Vhamusanda Vho-Ntanganedzeni Kutama, said it had learnt with shock that 20 schools have been broken into. He said there was a high number of vandalism of school infrastructure and burglary at schools in Vhembe.
“All the different structures and stakeholders are directed to work with schools governing bodies and other community structures to secure these institutions. We condemn this thuggish behaviour, our schools are targeted for theft of equipment such as computers, and for food and stationery,” Kutama said.
He called on communities to guard the schools against criminals.
Limpopo Education Spokesperson, Tidimalo Chuene, confirmed the break-in at the school.
Chuene said the department had recorded more than 80 incidents of burglaries in schools since the beginning of the lockdown.
“As a department, we are saddened to hear that school property was vandalised and that goods were stolen. We wish to express our heartfelt gratitude for the bravery shown by community members. This confirms that education is a societal issue as opposed to it being viewed as a matter of the department. Communities and government need to work together to curb crime in schools.”
She further called on schools to protect their infrastructure.
Police Spokesperson Brig Motlafela Mojapelo confirmed the break-in.