GAUTENG schools have become soft targets for organised crime syndicates dealing in information and communication technology (ICT) equipment and scrap metal collectors.
This was revealed on Friday by the provincial Department of Education to a delegation of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education and the Select Committee on Education, Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture following oversight visits to schools damaged during last month’s public unrest and pro-Zuma riots in the province.
In a statement, the committees heard that “organised crime syndicates have been targeting schools to steal smart boards, computers, printers and other ICT equipment that is used in teaching and learning. Scrap metal collectors also vandalise schools to steal water taps, electrical copper wires, as well as aluminium window and door frames to sell to recyclers.”
Gauteng MEC Panyaza Lesufi told the committees that the province was losing the battle against school vandalism, and that drastic steps needed to be taken.
Lesufi also told the committees that although 11 schools were vandalised during the recent unrests and looting, more schools were attacked long before the unrest.
The Chairperson of the Select Committee on Education, Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture, Elleck Nchabeleng, said that “the aim of the oversight was to evaluate the damage and determine how can Parliament intervene to ensure that the provincial and national government repair the damaged schools and tighten their security.”
Meanwhile, the committees will conclude the oversight today by visiting more affected schools around Soweto.
* Inside Education