How to address spike in school vandalism – Desiree van der Walt

DA MP says Minister should ensure that there are caretakers at schools at all times during lockdown

DA submits proposals to Education Minister to address spike in school vandalism

14 April 2020

The Democratic Alliance (DA) today wrote to the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga proposing measures her Department should take to mitigate the spike of malicious vandalism to school property by criminals during the Covid-19 lockdown period.

Minister Motshekga has confirmed that 183 schools have been vandalised since the start of the lockdown. There have also been reports that some of the people behind the vandalism of schools in Gauteng, in particular, are school caretakers whose contracts have recently ended.

Irrespective of their intention, the DA condemns these despicable acts by individuals who are clearly indifferent to the amount of damage that their acts will have on the functioning of schools and on the education of learners post the lockdown.

We therefore request that Minister Motshekga ensure the following interventions:

That there are caretakers at schools at all times during the lockdown to deter any possible acts of vandalism and in cases where some contracts have come to an end, extensions or replacements are prioritised;

The Department works closely with the South African Police Service to ensure police visibility and patrolling in high-risk areas;

The Department should look at onboarding Community Police Forums and Neighborhood Watches in protecting schools immediately after the lockdown to ensure maximum visibility of security around our schools at all times.

These rogue elements who are behind the destruction of school infrastructure should not be given any space to thrive in our society as their actions rob children, particularly those living in poor communities, of their right to have access to decent spaces for learning.

We call on the police to take swift action against those who are responsible for these senseless acts and urge communities to step forward and report anyone who they suspect might be involved in school vandalism.

The DA is open to engaging with the Minister in this regard because there is clearly an urgent need to put preventative measures in place to protect schools from being soft targets for criminals.

Issued by Desiree Van Der Walt,DA Deputy Shadow of Basic Education, 14 April 2020