MEC visits Homevale High School, which has been plagued by burglaries and vandalism.
THE NORTHERN Cape MEC for Education, Zolile Monakali, visited Homevale High School in Kimberley on Monday after the school “escalated” serious concerns about burglaries and vandalism to Premier Zamani Saul.
This follows the latest such incidents at the school over the weekend.
It was discovered on Sunday morning that the school had been broken into yet again.
Concerned school personnel said on Monday that the school has become a “crime haven” over the past six months.
They added that they have had to “clean up” after the criminals almost every day over the last two weeks.
The staff members said that “no one feels safe at the school any more”.
They also said that they were disappointed and frustrated as they constantly open cases at the Roodepan police station but do not see any progress.
They said that the police take statements and fingerprints, but “nothing happens afterwards except for the issuing of case numbers”.
They pointed out that valuable teaching time is interrupted as they have to wait for the police to arrive and finish their work and then the affected classrooms need to be cleaned before teaching can proceed.
An educator at the school said that they have sought intervention from the provincial Department of Education, but “nothing happened”.
“We then resorted to writing to the premier, which has worked,” added the educator.
“This past weekend, classes were broken into and vandalised and items were stolen from the laboratories. This time nine classes were forced open, where padlocks, door frames and security door locks were damaged to such an extent that most doors can’t be closed any more.
“The criminals relieve themselves in the classes and scatter documents around, which are usually locked away in the cupboards.
“We find empty containers of drugs in the classrooms on a daily basis.
“Almost all the doors are broken and the burglar gates are hacked open. Cupboards are also forced open.
“We are concerned that the learners will not be able to write their computer exams if things continue like this.
“We escalated the matter to the premier after the latest burglary and that resulted in the MEC, the police and officials coming to the school. Why did they not do that from the beginning,” asked the educator
Another staff member said the school started encountering problems after “criminals helped themselves to the fence at the back of the premises” and local residents started to use the school as a “short cut”.
“That is when anyone managed to gain access to the premises at any time.”
Police spokesperson Captain Bashoabile Kale said a break-in took place at the school between September 23 and 27 and is being investigated by the Roodepan police.
Kale noted that there has been an increase in break-ins at schools, crèches and churches.
The Northern Cape Department of Education said it would respond to media enquiries regarding the matter on Tuesday.