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Some equipment stolen from R105m Tsakane school traced to Joburg shop

18 January 2019 - 14:03 By Naledi Shange
Some of the laptops and tablets stolen from Menzi Primary School were found at a shop in Johannesburg's city centre.
Some of the laptops and tablets stolen from Menzi Primary School were found at a shop in Johannesburg's city centre.
Image: Supplied / Gauteng education department

Some of the equipment stolen from a new multimillion-rand school in Tsakane, Ekurhuleni, has been recovered, the Gauteng education department said on Friday.

Spokesperson Steve Mabona posted a picture of the outside of a shop in the Johannesburg CBD, saying the goods had been found there. The shop, on the corner of Mooi and Helen Joseph streets, trades in stationery and electronic equipment.

The police arrested four suspects on Friday who robbed the Menzi Primary School in Tsakane, Ekurhuleni.

“Police are also searching for the remaining stolen items,” spokesperson Capt Kay Makhubele.

The suspects are between 23 and 38 years old. The police found 22 tablets and three laptops during the arrest allegedly stolen from the school.

The suspects will appear in the Tsakane magistrate’s court on Monday.

Last week Wednesday, when schools reopened, Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi visited Tsakane in Ekurhuleni to unveil 33 "smart" classrooms at Menzi Primary School. The equipment was stolen six days later.

It is alleged that two security guards were tied up and locked in a strongroom at the school. The criminals broke the main vault door to get keys for the entire school.

The department said the main areas broken into were the administration block and the IT offices, where the tablets are charged overnight.

"There is evident forceful entry on the doors of all the areas they went into," the department said.

It said items stolen included all 185 tablets for pupils, eight laptops for teachers, two data projectors, three desktop computers, a flat screen TV, petty cash of just less than R500 and a digital video recorder for cameras.

After the burglary, Lesufi challenged the residents of Tsakane, near Brakpan, to "hunt for the robbers". He said their failure to help catch the robbers would see the department removing the remaining equipment from the school.

During the handing-over ceremony, Lesufi urged Tsakane residents and pupils to protect the new school from vandals.

Lesufi said that as a result of the robbery, all grade 7 pupils did not have textbooks because their e-books were stored on the stolen tablets.