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‘Chief Justice office burglary highly organised’

The DA's John Steenhuisen says he would bet that State Security Minister David Mahlobo was involved. But Mahlobo's office says people should desist from making baseless accusations.

FILE: Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) says the burglary at the Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s offices was carried out in a highly organised manner and cannot be seen as an opportunistic crime.

On Saturday morning 15 computers with information about judges were taken from the office in Midrand, but other computers closer to the office’s entrance were left behind.

On Friday the Constitutional Court handed down its ruling on the social grant crisis, while the High Court in Pretoria made that judgement on Berning Ntlemeza.

The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) chief whip John Steenhuisen says he believes State Security Minister David Mahlobo may have been involved in the crime but the African National Congress (ANC) says these statements should not be made without proof.

The institute’s Gareth Newham said: “Two weeks ago you had the minister of intelligence mentioning that people in the judiciary are being misused to set regime change driven by phony intelligence agencies . If the minister of intelligence thinks judges are a threat to national security, they might be seen as a legitimate target and that this is why we’re having these allegations. They’re not coming out of nowhere.”

PHAHLANE APPOINTS SENIOR DETECTIVE

Phahlane says a senior detective has been appointed to lead a multi-unit team to investigate the theft of computers at the office of the Chief Justice in Midrand.

He says the theft is being treated with the highest priority.

“We’ve appointed the Deputy Provincial Commissioner responsible for Crime Detection in Gauteng who was on the scene, leading a team comprising of various units.”

Mncube says highly sensitive information was contained on the 15 computers.

“The computers contained sensitive information of more than 1,000 officials throughout the country, with over 200 of them being from the judges.”

He says while Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng is shocked by the incident, the judiciary will not be deterred from carrying out its constitutional mandate.

Mncube said: “He expressed his shock, but of course also he’s hoping that the property that was taken will be recovered. He and the rest of the Judiciary remain unshaken. They will continue to do their work.”

At the same time, the Office of the Chief Justice says it hopes stolen computers, containing important information, will be recovered soon.

The Democratic Alliance’s John Steenhuisen says he would bet that State Security Minister David Mahlobo was behind the crime but Mahlobo’s office has urged people to desist from making baseless accusations.

The State Security Agency’s Brian Dube says the office is deeply concerned by the burglary, but says it has nothing to do with it.

“We feel these are reckless and we think that people should give security services space to do their work and really look at what had happened and try to get those people who are involved in this act of crime.”

Mncube says they are trying to establish how the thieves gained access to the highly secure building.

“There’s an alarm system in the building and we’re advised that it did go off, but by the time the security got to the building it was a bit too late.”

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)

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