Cape Town – The city of Cape Town is offering a reward of 5,000 Rand for information that has led to the arrest or conviction of intruders in several of its libraries in recent weeks.
The city council recorded a loss of more than R100,000 while its final damage assessments are still pending.
In a statement on Sunday, member of the Mayor’s Committee for Community Services and Health Zahid Badroodien said continued library robberies and vandalism was concerning as criminals showed no respect for their community services and municipal.
He said the vandalism was having a domino effect as it could take months to repair the damage and get all services back into service.
“The net result is limited or no access to safe study spaces for our clients, while depriving them of opportunities to use our libraries’ internet facilities,” said Badroodien.
In recent weeks, the bars and signage of the Delft South Library have been stolen. There were reports of damage to exterior walls after people started fires against the building. The air conditioning units, which were locked in steel cages, were stolen.
At Lwandle Library, cables to the air conditioning system were stolen, with installation replacement and repair work totaling R20,000.
The Macassar library has had its entire fence stolen and it will cost the city council around 72,000 rand to replace it. Barbed wire was also stolen and the roof gutters were damaged.
The retirement library, which reported several break-ins last year, recorded its latest incident last month, when a security guard was stabbed twice as he attempted to defend himself after encountering suspects trying to break into his vehicle, which was parked in front of the building.
Suider Strand Library burned down last month and insurance payments totaled R14.5 million, which included the building, library materials and furniture.
Earlier this month, suspects held security officers hostage at gunpoint as they stole a refrigerator, junk and a broken faucet in the kitchen. The replacement value was R4,600.
At the Weltevreden library, burglar bars were removed, windows were smashed and a desk worth R7,000 was stolen. A library damage assessment should be carried out.
On two separate occasions last week, suspects gained access to Wynberg’s library and stole a number of small items. The fingerprints were taken by the police. Fortunately, the suspects were unable to access the main section of the library.
“’We have also seen cases where libraries have been vandalized for no apparent reason, nothing has been stolen. It does not make sense to dismantle a facility that provides important services to the community.
“We would like to once again ask our communities and neighborhood watchers to be on the lookout for any suspicious behavior in community libraries and to report it immediately,” Badroodien said.
He said the criminals will continue their senseless acts of destruction until they are brought to justice.
“The City calls on anyone with information to come forward and report it to the police. The city of Cape Town is offering a reward of 5,000 Rand for information that leads to the successful arrest or conviction of the perpetrators, ”Badroodien added.
African News Agency (ANA)