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STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER FOR COMMUNITY SERVICES, COUNCILLOR ANDA NTSODO

The City’s Eikendal Library has been burgled twice in the space of a few days, hampering upgrades that were under way. Read more below:

The City of Cape Town’s facilities are coming under increasing attack from thieves and vandals alike. The Eikendal Library in Kraaifontein, which closed last week to allow for a R2,5 million upgrade, has been burgled twice in one weekend.

Burglars struck the first time on Friday night/Saturday morning (4, 5 October 2016) when the door was kicked in and one burglar bar was taken out of the security door for a small person to climb through.

This alerted City Law Enforcement in the control room that something was amiss as it triggered motion sensors. Law enforcement officers and staff arrived at the library to find two hard-drives missing and the flat-screen television in front of the emergency exit. Most of the drawers were open and the cash register tray was out next to the cash register.

Security guards were placed at the library over the weekend until the door could be replaced.

Burglars returned to the library at 01:45 on Monday morning and held the two security officers at gunpoint. They took personal computers, smashed the radio, and vandalised the library.

We condemn this blatant disregard for community facilities, which offer safe spaces for vulnerable residents, in the strongest terms. More so as these negative actions mean more money will have to be spent on replacing what was stolen. Repairing damage to City facilities costs us millions of rands each year. This is money that could have been spent on developing much-needed library facilities in underserved areas.

Budget constraints means the City cannot provide security guards around the clock at all of our libraries. The Library and Information Services Department spent R15,7 million during the 2015/2016 financial year on security, of which R108 000 can be directly attributed to insurance-related matters.

For the first quarter of the 2016/17 financial year (July, August, September), we have already spent R9,3 million on security, of which R43 000 can be directly attributed to insurance-related matters. A further R1,5 million is planned for hardening of facilities, which includes fencing, the upgrading of alarm systems, and the installation of burglar bars, gates, and CCTV cameras.

We are grieved on behalf of the community to see this happen to a facility that is in the process of being upgraded to improve the visitor experience and encourage patrons to spend more time in the new space. These thieves are not only stealing equipment, but they are robbing our children of a safe space to learn, study, grow and socialise. The upgrades to the Eikendal Library will take until the middle of next year to complete.

There are increasing demands on the City’s Community Services Directorate to provide more safe recreational spaces, so to extend the budget to cover this crime is going to be tough.

I would like to encourage residents to be our eyes and ears and to take ownership of these facilities, which ultimately belong to them. We appeal to our patrons to please bear with us.

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