'Devastated' Lesufi hints at inside job after Soweto smart school robbed of R3m in equipment

Esithebeni Primary School in Zola, Soweto, was broken into on Friday and criminals took off with valuables estimated to be worth over R3m.
Esithebeni Primary School in Zola, Soweto, was broken into on Friday and criminals took off with valuables estimated to be worth over R3m.
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Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has described the theft and wanton vandalism at schools as "emotionally draining".

This after Esithebeni Primary School in Zola, Soweto, was broken into on Friday and criminals made off with items worth more than R3m.

“It’s emotionally draining. It’s devastating. But we can’t surrender the future of our children,” said Lesufi.

Smart boards, tablets and computers are some of the items the robbers got away with.

Lesufi visited the school on Saturday after an urgent meeting was convened with the parents.

“The community is also up in arms. This was one of our best schools in terms of ICT technology. This is a step back, because now, learners must go back to using pen and paper,” he told TimesLIVE.

Security personnel at the school told the MEC and police that nine people raided the school and targeted a storage room, which was built inside a classroom, and the principal’s office.

Lesufi described the school as being highly secured with several security measures in place. He said the robbers seemed to have knowledge of the security.

“The school is heavily secured. There was no way they could enter through the door, windows or the roof. So the people who did it knew exactly what they were doing as they targeted a small portion of the wall which was not secured,” he said.

In August, the department said more than 250 Gauteng schools had been hit by theft and vandalism this year alone, with the cost of the damage exceeding R121m. In total, there had been 262 incidents of theft and vandalism since the start of 2019.

Following the meeting at the Soweto school on Saturday, Lesufi said his department was hopeful those behind the attack would soon be apprehended.

“We remain hopeful. We hope the community will assist us and the police in getting those involved arrested or recovering some of these items,” he added.

Teaching and learning activities were expected to be affected.

Lesufi said another meeting would be held on Monday to discuss how teacher and learners could be assisted as preparation for exams had been under way.


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