Opposition party Democratic Alliance in Gauteng has reacted to the constant stealing happening in the schools in the province over the last three years; Items stolen include laptops, smartboards and tablets worth millions of rand.

Khume Ramulifho, a DA Gauteng member of the executive council for education aid 49 laptops to the value of 527 000 rands were reported stolen in the past three financial years.  As many as 379 smartboards to the value of about 5.5 million rands were also stolen and 8 200 tablets to the estimated value of 42.9 million rands were reported either stolen or lost in the past three financial years. Ramulifho said he got the information from a response to his questions posed to Education and Youth Development MEC Panyaza Lesufi in the provincial legislature. He however noted that “The department only managed to recover 342 smartboards and 200 tablets from those that were reported stolen with the police.”

Revealing more information, Ramulifho said “a total of 170 incidents of theft and vandalism with the estimated damage value of R2 064 000 have been reported to the department in the last three financial years with only 113 incidents reported to the police. “There are no clear reasons as to why 57 incidents of theft and vandalism were not reported to the police. We call on MEC Lesufi to institute an investigation into these cases to ascertain why they were not reported.”

Ramulifho said despite the fact that some cases of stolen tablets, laptops and smartboards have been reported to the police, the department was not aware of any cases that have been finalised in the past three financial years. He said the lack of urgency indicates poor school safety strategies.

Putting some of the blames to the police, he said the police were failing to prioritise schools as there was no investigation progress report for the cases opened. “It is very worrying that the department continues to lose millions in theft and burglaries while not much is being done to safeguard assets. The department has dismally failed to prevent the incidents of theft and burglaries in our schools.”

Advising on measures to curb the frequent act, Ramulifho said “It is right time to explore other safety measures such as installing CCTV cameras and alarm systems linked to nearby police stations as a way of strengthening security measures. He noted that “Untrained and unarmed patrollers alone will not be able to safeguard our valuable assets they also need community members to take ownership of the schools.”

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