Damage estimated at over R150‚000 has been done to the premises of the Outreach Foundation in Hillbrow‚ Johannesburg‚ over the past weekend‚ the upliftment and empowerment organisation said on Monday.
Thieves gained entry to the premises by breaking the gate in Edith Cavell street‚ the organisation said.
They then tore apart the box containing the electrical connections between the solar panels and the premises and ripped off the solar panels from the roof. One of the panels was damaged during the theft and was left behind with the rest of the destroyed items.
Executive director Robert Michel said: “We had‚ through generous donations‚ been able to purchase solar panels. These panels were to be the start of our self-sustainability project‚ and we were just about to channel much-needed funds usually used to pay for the running costs of the premises‚ such as electricity‚ back to our beneficiaries. But with the theft of the panels this weekend and the damage to our gate‚ we are back to square one.”
“This theft will severely hamper our ability to care for the communities of Hillbrow. So much time and money will now have to be spent fixing the damage done.”
The Outreach Foundation’s mandate is to provide skills to unemployed people.
“We are appealing to those who may know something about the theft to go to the police. We are also appealing to the community to help us protect our premises so that we can continue to help as many people as we can‚” Michel said.