South Africa: 131 Schools in Nelson Mandela Bay Robbed, Mostly At Gunpoint, in Five Months

Many teachers are afraid to report for duty

  • The Eastern Cape Department of Education has allocated an additional R59-million to bump up security at schools in the province.
  • Since November 131 schools in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro have been robbed, many at gunpoint.
  • Many teachers say they are afraid to report for duty.

Since November, 131 schools in the Nelson Mandela Bay region have been robbed, Eastern Cape Department of Education spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima told GroundUp. Most of these have been at gunpoint.

The provincial Department of Education has issued a statement, declaring several areas within the municipality “hotspots” and has allocated millions of rands to improve security at these and other schools. The department said the crime hotspots were in the northern areas of KwaZakhele, Zwide, and Motherwell in Gqeberha.

According to the police, the latest incident happened outside Elufefeni Primary School in NU7, Motherwell, when schools just opened last week.

Police spokesperson Andre Beetge said, “A vehicle hijacking took place in Mzwazwa Street (at the gate of Elufefeni). It is alleged that a few teachers at the school, arriving in a grey Kia SUV, were waiting for the gate to be unlocked when they were approached by three armed suspects.”

Beetge said the robbers took the teachers’ personal belongings and their car. “The vehicle was later found abandoned a block away. A case of hijacking is being investigated.”

In Kariega, police spokesperson Priscilla Naidu confirmed that at least three incidents of robberies at gunpoint last month at Phaphani and Tinarha High Schools, as well as Mjuleni primary school in KwaNobuhle township.

At KwaZakhele High School in Gqeberha, which has been repeatedly robbed, a teacher who asked not to be named said robbers were very young. The school has about 1,076 learners.