Phahlane appoints senior detective to lead probe into Chief Justice burglary

The office of the Chief Justice Nathi Mncube says highly sensitive information was contained on the 15 computers.

FILE: Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng delivers a ruling in the Constitutional Court. Picture: Supplied.

PRETORIA – Acting National Police Commissioner Khomotso 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.

Thieves made off with 15 computers containing the personal details of thousands of justice department officials, including judges, in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Phahlane 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.”

The Office of the Chief Justice's Nathi 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 says: “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 Leeto M Khoza)