Another school looted by thieves, this time in Midrand - and Lesufi is livid
A Midrand school was cleaned out of cash and computers on Monday night, the Gauteng education department said on Tuesday.
“We are under siege from these criminals, how do people continue to derail education of our children in this fashion," said Gauteng MEC for education Panyaza Lesufi in condemning the theft.
The break-in incident occurred at the Gideon Rambuwani Primary School in Klipfontein View, Midrand.
The lost equipment includes a server, two laptops, 27 computers, two cameras, R2,000 cash and a gas stove.
This follows the brazen theft at the state-of-the-art Menzi Primary School within a week of its opening in January, among a recent spate of school burglaries in various areas ranging from Lenasia to Pretoria.
A school safety summit is being hosted on Wednesday by both the Gauteng department of community safety and Gauteng department of Education to tackle school break-ins, gangsterism, bullying, as well as violence against pupils and teachers.
"This gathering must discuss these safety challenges and develop a common approach to tackle them,” said education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.
"The creation of a safe and conducive learning environment has reached critical point and is not negotiable. Our learners must be given an opportunity to develop and ultimately reach their full potential without any hindrance," added Lesufi.
Gauteng MEC for community safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane said: "Gauteng schools have become terrains prone to crime and violent incidents. This is a threat to the successful achievement of educational goals. Many schools are grappling with increasing disciplinary issues, while at the same time society is struggling to understand the complex factors that are creating fresh generations of (those who engage in this) unruly behaviour."
Research has shown that violence in schools such as bullying, physical violence and sexual abuse often have negative effects on mental health, physical health, sense of wellbeing, sense of social isolation, depression, frustration and academic achievement, says the government. It is also indicated that 57% of SA students have been bullied at some time during their high school careers.
"Our schools used to be institutions of academic excellence and one of the safest places for learners and teachers. However, in recent times our schooling environment has become a haven for learners to commit criminal elements. The recent incidents of bullying, gangsterism and serious violent crime such as murder are nerve-wracking and must never be allowed to prevail under our watch.
"These problems make learners and educators feeling unsafe and negatively affect the development of learners as well as teachers doing their jobs effectively and efficiently," said Nkosi-Malobane.
"I have instructed the police to continue conducting random unannounced visits to schools as a matter of urgency to ensure the safety of learners. It is also critically important that schools management should participate in Community Police Forums to assist in finding cohesive solutions to the crime challenges faced by our respective schools," she added.
Wednesday's school safety summit will be attended by about 3,000 people including principals, school governing bodies, organised labour, pupils' representative councils and student movements.