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Helen Suzman Foundation robbery is 'an attack on freedom of civil society'

Armed robbers overpowered a guard at the foundation’s JHB offices before stealing computers & documents.

The office building on Shelbourne Road in Parktown where the Helen Suzman Foundation is located. Picture: Google Earth

Several armed robbers overpowered a security guard on Sunday at the foundation's Johannesburg offices before stealing computers and documents.

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

Among the organisations calling for swift action are Corruption Watch, Freedom Under Law, Lawyers for Human Rights and the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC).

Freedom Under Law's Judge Johann Kriegler says if state agencies are behind the raid, it will represent an attack of the gravest kind on South Africa's democracy.

"The protectors of law and order, the agencies of the state, have to investigate this with thoroughness. It's a major incursion. Civil society's freedom and integrity are at stake."

The Hawks have not responded to allegations that they might have been involved.