Pupils sent home

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Poorly secured Parkside Primary shuts doors after thieves destroy facilities

These people must realise they are stealing from the children

VANDALISM and theft has crippled Parkside Primary School, forcing it to close its doors to pupils last Friday until its damaged facilities are repaired.

The school has experienced a wave of disruption over the last few weeks as electrical wires were cut, toilets broken, fences destroyed and the principal’s laptop stolen.

ABLUTIONS GUTTED: Taps were removed, causing flooding, and all the toilets broken at Parkside Primary ’s ablution facilities by thieves. The school was forced to send all pupils home last Friday due to the lack of water and destroyed plumbing. The pupils can only return once the facilities have been repaired
ABLUTIONS GUTTED: Taps were removed, causing flooding, and all the toilets broken at Parkside Primary ’s ablution facilities by thieves. The school was forced to send all pupils home last Friday due to the lack of water and destroyed plumbing. The pupils can only return once the facilities have been repaired

Student governing body chair Thanduxolo Joseph Faku said: “The vandals are looking for copper which they sell to buy drugs and support their habit.

“It will cost us R30000 to repair the plumbing and R500000 to rewire the school with electricity over the next few weeks. Children came to school on Thursday [August 4] but we had to send them home on Friday [August 5] as a health and safety precaution.”

The school reported the issue to the Department of Education, which has promised to assist in repairing the facilities.

Parents will have to keep pupils at home until August 15, when it is hoped the repairs will have been completed.

“Sanitation and hygiene cannot take place without water so we had to close the school.

“The thieves took taps and the water was flooding all over. The vandals broke all the toilets.

“The copper and wires that were stolen were so small in value but the damage will cost us so much,” said Faku.

The school has one security guard and the admin block is fitted with an alarm system, but this has failed to curb the destruction of property over the last few months.

LITTLE PROTECTION: The boundary fence behind Parkside Primary School has been broken twice, making it increasingly difficult to protect the school. At the beginning of this term, Parkside Primary also experienced an invasion from residents who wanted to erect dwellings on school grounds Pictures: SARAH KINGON
LITTLE PROTECTION: The boundary fence behind Parkside Primary School has been broken twice, making it increasingly difficult to protect the school. At the beginning of this term, Parkside Primary also experienced an invasion from residents who wanted to erect dwellings on school grounds Pictures: SARAH KINGON

Faku said: “The public have to look at what is happening and help.

“The department cannot afford to provide us with security but have promised that we are on a list to rebuild the school.

“We are still using a ‘temporary structure’ built in 1967, which makes it easier to break in.

“This is badly affecting our parents and pupils. Many parents who are working or looking for jobs have to make arrangements to keep an eye on their children. We expect the children to pass at the end of the year but we know this will have a big impact on results.”

Faku encouraged community members who are aware of anyone selling school property to notify the police and help clamp down on criminals.

Principal Brian Fritz said: “These people must realise they are stealing from the children.”

TOTALLY DESTROYED: Ruben Sylvester (SGB deputy chair) points out where criminals gained entry to the school. SGB chair Thanduxolo Joseph Faku crouches to get through the damaged doorway
TOTALLY DESTROYED: Ruben Sylvester (SGB deputy chair) points out where criminals gained entry to the school. SGB chair Thanduxolo Joseph Faku crouches to get through the damaged doorway

Fritz said security had been a problem at the school for 20 years, but had subsided significantly before becoming an issue again over the last two years.

Faku said the school was in the process of applying to the education department to be listed as a no-fee school, which would enable it to use funding from the department to increase security.

“It’s no good to fix the problem and then tomorrow the same things happen,” Faku said.

Anyone who would like to assist the school can contact TJ Faku on 083-740-6260.

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