Another break-in at city hall

2015-02-03 00:00

TWO break-ins in three days targeting Msunduzi’s city manager and a deputy manager have prompted a major upgrade in security at the city hall.

Questions have been raised about the security at the iconic building following an incident that occurred on January 16 where the would-be thieves gained entry to municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi’s office.

The latest breach is similar to an incident at Nkosi’s office in 2013 that prompted those close to the city boss to claim that his offices had been bugged.

At the time Nkosi said he did not want city hall to be turned into a fortress, but the latest incident seems to have changed his mind.

Last month, the burglars breached Nkosi’s personal assistant’s office before making their way into his kitchen. They then attempted to open his office door but failed to gain entry.

Two days later, a similar incident was reported, this time at the office of Boniwe Zulu, the deputy manager, community services and process manager: risk management, at 333 Church Street.

The incident was discussed briefly during last week’s full council meeting and a resolution was taken that security had to be upgraded.

Nkosi said he was in Cape Town when his office was broken into.

He said when he eventually went into his office, there were signs and evidence that the burglars had tampered with the locks and the electronic system.

“This is the third attempt [at a break-in] in the past three years that I have been in office. On the two previous occasions they had been successful in getting into my office. The strange thing is that nothing was ever taken. We know they are looking for something; we just don’t know what it is,” said Nkosi.

He said there was nothing valuable in his office, except for “tons of books and documents”.

Although he did not fear for his life, he said: “What is strange is that two days later they broke into the office of a deputy manager. We don’t know what they are looking for, but it must be connected.

“Previously we had security guards at the entrance of the city hall, and now we have upgraded the security. We also have security personnel on the third floor. There are cameras at strategic points at the city hall, but they are on the mayoral side, not on the municipal manager’s side,” he said.

Nkosi said cameras would be added to all floors in the building.

“We closed the back entrance and everyone is now forced to use the front entrance, where they go through a security check,” he said.

Zulu said she was on leave when her office was broken into.

“I was called to the office and told that there was evidence of a break-in. When I got there I discovered my door open, but nothing had been taken. I was worried about the documents, but they have since been put in a safe place,” said Zulu.

Inkatha Freedom Party councillor Dolo Zondi said: “city hall is not safe. We have been talking about the lax security for a while now, but we are hoping to see a difference with the security upgrades.”

The Democratic Alliance’s Rodger Ashe said: “The city hall is the nerve centre of this city, that’s why I believe it needs first-class security.”

Mayor Chris Ndlela declined to comment on the matter.

• amanda.khoza@witness.co.za

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