Gauteng criminals target schools for electronics, food

The Gauteng education department is concerned about a recent spate of robberies in schools in Atteridgeville, Tshwane, where criminals allegedly stole computers and National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) stock.

It is alleged that criminals broke into Masizane Primary School on Friday and tied up the security guard before making off with seven computers, two tablets and all nutrition stock at the school.

Another school nearby, Thohoyandou Primary School, was also looted on the same day, said the department's spokesperson, Steve Mabona.

"We strongly believe that there is a syndicate operating in the area because these activities started on Tuesday, 20 March 2018, where Flavius Mareka Secondary School was broken into and the criminals made off with the entire NSNP stock," said Mabona.

The schools have opened cases at the local police station.

Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi condemned the thefts.

"We strongly condemn these criminal acts which seek to undermine our effort to provide food to our children at school. It is paramount [to note] that most of the learners at the said schools are from disadvantaged communities and as such we must provide food for them every day," said Lesufi.

He urged community members with information on the incidents to alert the police so arrests can be made.

"Our schools cannot afford to be a haven for criminals, this cannot be tolerated," he said.