Metal thefts hit Grahamstown schools

Report by Lillian Magari & Noxolo Mafu,

The illegal trade of stolen metal parts has hit Grahamstown local township schoolsand seen their premises severely vandalised. Thieves target metal urinals, water pipes, electricity cables and plugs. This epidemic has seen schools such as NV Cewu and Samuel Ntlebi without any electricity or adequate plumbing. As a result, educators and learners are unable to use the toilet facilities.
The need for tighter security sees these school squeezing out R20 000 to install Hi-Tec sensitive security beams. The expensive beams are a wise investment but also prove to be a hard purchase for the schools and even private homes.
As the most expensive product offered by Hi-Tec, it is difficult for the company to offer the beam to schools on a lay-bye basis. This becomes even more difficult as many of the targeted schools have poor infrastructure which makes the beams less effective.
Samuel Ntlebi specifically, has faced R100 000 in damages, with little or no money in the maintenance budget to do repairs.
Leonard Vodell, Manager of licensed scrapyard: Metal Masters, confirms a profit of R20 per kilo for metals brought in. These metals are often traded as broken or burnt pieces in order to make the identification process harder.
All the while, learners and educators are suffering as they are denied adequate sanitation and electricity.

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