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18 NGOs condemn Helen Suzman Foundation robbery

The NGOs say they recognise the raid as thuggery intended to intimidate the foundation.

Picture: Freeimages.com

PRETORIA - A group of 18 NGOs have added their voices of condemnation to the raid on the offices of the Helen Suzman Foundation, which was robbed of computers and documents.

The organisations include Corruption Watch, Freedom Under Law, Lawyers for Human Rights and the Southern Africa Litigation Centre.

In a well-orchestrated operation, several armed robbers over-powered a security guard on Sunday at the foundation's Johannesburg offices.

The raid came just days after the foundation together with Freedom Under Law applied to have the decision to appoint Berning Ntlemeza as head of the Hawks set aside.

The 18 NGOs say they recognise the raid on the foundation as thuggery intended probably to intimidate the foundation and others in civil society engaged in promoting constitutional democracy, fighting corruption and for the rule of law.

They note that while the culprits have yet to be identified, the raid comes in the context of increasing hostility by some towards civil society.

They say that should it be established that the perpetrators are linked to the police, army or intelligence functionaries - it will represent an attack on South Africa's democracy of the gravest kind.

Meanwhile, the FW de Klerk Foundation has called on the police to investigate the robbery swiftly and diligently.

The Hawks say they'll issue a statement on the matter soon.

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