Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, has condemned the incidents of vandalism, burglary and destruction of schools across several provinces since the COVID-19 lockdown started.
This follows break-ins at three schools in KwaZulu-Natal in the last 24 hours, where expensive learning equipment was stolen.
The eThekwini Primary School in Durban is the latest in a string of schools that have been damaged in recent weeks.
The latest burglary happened on Sunday evening, bringing the number to 183 schools vandalised around the country since COVID-19 lockdown was put in place.
Gauteng has reported 55 vandalised schools, 72 in Mpumalanga, seven schools in North West and two schools in KwaZulu-Natal.
Motshekga said she is working with Police Minister Bheki Cele to get to the bottom of these incidents.
"It is quite disheartening that criminal elements in our communities could destroy the infrastructure of their own children with such apparent impunity. I am in constant touch with the Minister of Police, and with the assistance of the state intelligence forces, we are following leads to the immediate arrest and prosecution of every single criminal responsible," Motshekga said.
The Minister said communities are supposed to be caretakers of the infrastructure that government had put in place for the education of children.
"It is extremely disappointing for criminals, who are part of the community, to randomly destroy the same infrastructure meant to provide decent spaces of learning and teaching meant for our children," the Minister said.
She urged community members to assist the police in identifying the culprits and to not buy items stolen from schools.
"These criminals must be reported to the police immediately. Let us work together to safeguard the future of our children by exposing these criminal elements," Motshekga said.
The learners from the affected schools will be the hardest hit, she said, as there could be delays in the implementation of the curriculum recovery plan when school finally reopen.
The Minister urged members of the community to be on the look-out for people vandalising schools or any public property.