Police are asking for help tracking down vandals and thieves who broke into Crestway High School and stole equipment to the value of R161 000.
The school year started off well for the school in Joe Marks Boulevard in Retreat, which was completely rebuilt at a cost of R70 million in 2018 (“Crestway High gets make-over”, Southern Mail, August 8 2018), and pupils and staff were able to make use of the new multi-million rand building which was officially opened at the beginning of the 2020 school year .
The school can now accommodate 1 110 pupils with 30 classrooms, boasts two science labs, one consumer studies classroom, a multi-media centre and one multi-purpose classroom, a sports field, a hall, and administration block.
However, on Thursday January 21 people made their way onto the school grounds with trolleys, bakkies and cars, carting away school equipment worth hundreds of thousands of rands.
Steenberg police spokesperson, Sergeant Wesley Twigg, confirmed a case of house breaking and
theft is being investigated. “The suspects are unknown and no arrests have yet been made,” he said.
Deputy principal Cheryl Jacobs said water tanks and other equipment were meant to be moved by contractors but thieves made off with it before this could be done. “The pupils are safe because we are in the new building but the old school building was completely ripped apart. The demolition crew is in the process of taking down the parts of the old building that were not carried away by the thieves,” she said.
Western Cape Education Department spokesperson, Bronagh Hammond, said the company responsible for the demolition of the old site has provided security to protect the site further.
Southern Mail received reports that the dilapidated old building site was being illegally occupied by backyarders and rental unit residents who previously occupied the open land behind Crestway High School that is earmarked for a housing development.
Ms Hammond, however, denied the reports. “The reports that people are occupying the old premises is not true. This has been confirmed with the school principal,” said Ms Hammond.
Ms Jacobs also confirmed there was no one occupying the old building.
But Sergeant Twigg said disgruntled backyarders and renters wanted to erect structures at the old school building on Sunday February 2. “Police and law enforcement agencies were on the scene but no cases were opened at Steenberg police station.”
Wayne Dyason, City of Cape Town law enforcement spokesperson, said officers responded to the report of a land invasion of the Old Crestway school site on Sunday. “On arrival they found one uninhabited structure but no people on the scene. It was checked again on Monday February 3 and no one was there. Staff will continue checking the site.”
Anyone with information about the theft and burglary case can contact Steenberg SAPS on 021 702 9000 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111.
The area in which the old site was built will be demolished and a sports field built in its place.