Three public libraries in Cape Town, burgled within a week

Three of City of Cape Town libraries were burgled, within a week.

Last Wednesday, thieves broke into the Bellville Library and damaged the photocopy machine and stole one coin box. Mayco member for Community Services & Health, Patricia van der Ross, said opportunists gained access through the basement into the reference section.

A few hours later, Harare Library was burgled and several doors were damaged. Van der Ross said all the computers in both workrooms, at the circulation desk, the office of the librarian in charge and some of the SmartCape computers were stolen. This was the second time, thieves ransacked offices at Harare library, this year.

At Weltevreden Library, criminals stole a fan heater and two adaptors. It is understood thieves gained access via a small window in the children’s section.

‘’These brazen attacks on our facilities occurred despite alarm systems, fencing, burglar bars, and security gates. It is our communities who suffer as children are not able to access the necessary resources for school projects or assignments, while older patrons are unable to search for job opportunities,’’ said Patricia van der Ross, Mayco member for Community Services & Health.

‘’While the cost of these losses are yet to be calculated, it is money that could have been spent on more computers or material. Our libraries are at the heart of communities, but it’s being chipped away by criminals. Their reputation as safe spaces for learning and relaxation is being eroded.’’

PICTURE: Facebook - Mitchell's Plain Town Centre Public Library

All three libraries are operating, however some services are limited. Van der Ross said additional security measures for 2023/24 will be implemented, which includes new and improved fencing, security gates and burglar bars at a number of libraries.

She called on the public to help protect the City facilities.

‘’While the City is doing its part to ensure facilities for all, I call on our communities to help us keep our facilities safe. We cannot do it alone. Be our eyes and ears,’’ said Patricia van der Ross, Mayco member for Community Services & Health.

The public can report any suspicious behaviour to the City’s Public Emergency Communication Centre by dialing 021 480 7700 from a cellphone.

Done By: Mitchum George


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