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DA says Port Elizabeth's Reuben Birin Special School suffering due to unchecked criminality

Apr 3, 2019
DA says Port Elizabeth's Reuben Birin Special School suffering due to unchecked criminality

DA says it is taking issue of attacks at Reuben Birin Special School to Bhisho

Port Elizabeth - Speaking after conducting an oversight inspection at the Reuben Birin Special School in Missionvale, Port Elizabeth, where there has been a spate of arson attacks and vandalism, Democratic Alliance (DA) Eastern Cape Leader, Nqaba Bhanga, said that what is happening at the school is evidence that crime was now out of control. 

"Crime in Nelson Mandela Bay is totally out of control and is now depriving our children of their basic right to education," said Bhanga.

"It is an outrage that this school, which is one of the few schools in the province capable of providing a quality education to our hearing impaired community, has been consistently targeted by criminals."

Reports said that since the 25th of March, the school for the hearing impaired has been burgled and set alight on several occasions. Two burglaries - in which laptops, computers and printers were stolen – have taken place.

"This has now culminated over the weekend, with a brazen act of arson that has seen 12 classrooms burnt to the ground over the weekend," Bhanga added.

"We were informed that parents are afraid to send their children to the school because of the constant threat of criminality."

He said that provincially, there are about a 1,400 children on the waiting list to be accepted into special schools, "but currently we cannot protect these assets".

"This school has been the target of vandals and criminals in the past and up until now the South African Police Service (SAPS) has not been able to assist," Bhanga added.

"The SAPS is undertrained, understaffed, under-resourced and underequipped and cannot address the safety of our children.

"We will now take up the plight of this school and the learners by asking questions in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature."

SAPS investigating attacks at Reuben Birin School for the Hearing Impaired

Meanwhile, the Eastern Cape Department of Education said that it has ropped in the SAPS to investigate the cases of arson, vandalism and burglary at the school.

It said that Port Elizabeth police are now working overtime to ensure that culprits are identified and brought to book.

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