More than 130 schools were vandalised in KwaZulu-Natal and over 43 others were destroyed and had equipment stolen in Gauteng, the department of basic education said at the weekend.
Schools are scheduled to re-open on Monday.
“We want to express our deep concern about what has happened in our schools in recent weeks,” said basic education minister, Angie Motshekga, on Saturday.
“During the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, schools and education centres were damaged, vandalised and looted.”
She said the KZN education department has submitted a list of 137 schools, which were vandalised.
Three education centres, and eight circuit offices were also vandalised.
“This is unprecedented, and we are concerned as a sector, that much needed school infrastructure was damaged,” said Motshekga.
“This is a serious setback, as the sector is already under pressure to provide appropriate facilities for the schooling system.
“The province has made arrangements to ensure that all these schools do open on Monday, 26 July 2021, and that teaching and learning continues.”
In Gauteng, more than 43 schools have been vandalised since the year began.
The minister said 29 of these schools have already been repaired, and work is underway to finish the others as soon as possible.
At least 11 of the schools were vandalised after the recess on 2 July 2021.
Motshekga said the vandals damaged ablution blocks and plumbing equipment. They destroyed water supplies, and stole water tanks.
Electric wires, especially copper cables, were ripped off. Fences were pulled down and stolen.
Computer equipment and nutrition programme supplies and equipment were pilfered.
“Saddening is that most schools were left with serious structural damages, which would place the safety of learners and teachers at risk,” lamented the minister.
She said the thefts and damages were estimated at more than R300 million.
“In the face of such major attacks, we need to stand together in condemning the destruction of public and private property,” said Motshekga.
“We thank our partners who have joined the Department in conveying a message, calling for the protection of schools.”
She said the sector was embarking on an integrated campaign to protect schools that involves school governing bodies, law enforcement agencies, teacher unions, parents, and civil society.