Criminals have taken advantage of lockdown and destroyed City of Cape Town infrastructure, resulting in many establishments having to close their doors. City facilities at the forefront of this destruction include libraries, clinics, sports complexes, community centres and parks.

During the lockdown period from March until May 18, 37 incidents were reported within the Community Services and Health Directorate.

Department

Number of Incidents

City Health

12

ECD

1

Libraries

7

Recreation & Parks

17

Total

37

Several libraries were burgled in Bonteheuwel, Nyanga, Athlone, Rocklands and Tokai. The worst hit was Athlone where geysers were stolen and the carpets were left drenched. Ceiling boards were damaged, as well as the roof where they gained access.

City Health staff were also hijacked outside Khayelitsha Mall after they completed a COVID-19 awareness campaign in the area. This was one of three incidents in which staff were held up and traumatised.

One vehicle was recovered and one is still missing. During the second incident, the  perpetrators did not take the vehicle, but instead, they robbed staff of their personal belongings.

Other incidents include damage to an air conditioner at the Kraaifontein Sports Complex, cables worth R300 000 stolen at Monwabisi Resort, pool entrance doors damaged at the Blue Downs Swimming Pool, and astro turf stolen at the Eulalie Stott Educare Centre in Mitchells Plain.

“These incidents not only put the lives of our staff at risk but also incapacitate the facilities for use and in so doing it deprives the very communities they serve of these resources for long periods of time,” said Mayco Member for Community Services and Health, Zahid Badroodien.

Lockdown means repairs and replacement of infrastructure and equipment will take even longer, thus extending the negative impact.

“The importance of such facilities should not be understated even at this time. They play an active role in the personal development of residents who seek to change their lives,” he added.

The estimated value of loss is estimated to be just more than R700 000 and excludes repairs that still need to be costed.

“This has also resulted in additional 24-hour security deployed to the various sites at a current expenditure of R4,1-million per month and a further R10,9-million per month committed for additional measures that will be needed to protect our facilities,” Badroodien said.

Type of Claims

Number of Incident

Estimate cost of vandalism and theft

Vandalism

15

86 878.88

Attempted Break In

6

1 500.00

Theft

5

162 192.00

Vandalism & Theft

4

330 000.00

Accident

2

42 000.00

Break in

2

90 000.00

Hi-Jacking

2

Stone throwing

1

Grand Total

37

712 570.88

 

This unplanned expenditure places further strain on the Directorate and could take away funding from other community needs.

“We are calling on residents to be on the lookout for any suspicious activities at any City facility. Residents need to take ownership of these facilities and we need to work together to combat the scourge of criminal activity in and around our community spaces,” Badroodien added. “Looking after our facilities requires the support and collaboration of everyone and I urge residents to play their part in making sure our people and our facilities emerge unscathed from the lockdown.”

To report vandalism, call 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone.

Picture: Supplied

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.