Criminals hit KZN politicians

2008-06-16 00:00

THREE prominent figures in the province, including the Inkatha Freedom Party president, a member of the provincial legislature and a former judge, fell victim to crime in separate incidents over the weekend.

Unknown burglars broke into IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s house in Ulundi’s A section on Saturday night. Speaking at an IFP Youth Brigade rally in kwaMashu yesterday, Buthelezi said he was not at the house when the burglary occurred and only learnt about it on Sunday.

“I had the worst Father’s Day this year. I was with my wife at the kwaPhindangene residence when police came to inform me of the burglary on the house in Ulundi. When we arrived there, we discovered that many valuables including my wife’s crockery had been stolen,” he said.

Other stolen items, according to the police, included a hi-fi system and clothes.

Buthelezi said the stolen goods were valued at about R100 000. He believes that the thieves used saws to break into the house. “When we got there, tools such as saws [allegedly used to force entry into the house] were still lying on the floor. The ceilings to the bedrooms were also smashed, suggesting that this is how they gained entry into the bedrooms.”

Superintendent Muzi Mngomezulu confirmed the incident, saying police are investigating a case of housebreaking. “We understand that there was a guard posted at the premises when the incident occurred. Our investigation will also try to establish where the guard was when the burglary took place,” he said.

Another IFP leader’s house, also in Ulundi, was also burgled. IFP MPL Lindani Mncwango said she learnt of the burglary while on her way home from Pietermaritzburg on Friday afternoon.

“I received a phone call from my neighbours who reported the burglary to me,” she told The Witness yesterday.

Mncwango said several items including two television sets, a home theatre system and a microwave oven were stolen.

The robbers also made off with Mncwango’s credit cards, one of which was used to make purchases at a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet and at an Edgars store in Pietermaritzburg on Friday afternoon.

Police would not say whether the two incidents are related.

In another incident, retired judge Ramon Leon, former Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon’s father, was attacked and robbed at gunpoint by unknown men who broke into his flat in a Durban retirement lodge on Sunday morning.

Mngomezulu said three suspects entered Leon’s flat at about 5.30 am and assaulted Leon before robbing him at gunpoint.

DA MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard speculated that the robbers may have had help from employees of the secure complex, but the manager, Kees Pronk, said there was no proof of this.

Mngomezulu said no suspects have been arrested in any of the cases.

Last month, Premier S’bu Ndebele’s house in Glenashley, Durban, was broken into while guards were on duty, and the house of Community Safety and Liaison MEC Bheki Cele was burgled last year.

bmbanjwa@witness.co.za

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