AS IT HAPPENED: 3 arrests confirmed in Chief Justice office burglary

2017-03-22 09:30

Acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane has confirmed that three arrests have been made in Mamelodi in connection with the recent robbery at the offices of the Chief Justice in Midrand, with further arrests expected.

Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane

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Last Updated at 04:15
22 Mar 09:28

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As the South African Police Service, we are pleased to announce developments relating to the break-in that took place at the offices of the Chief Justice, during the early hours of Saturday the 17th March 2017.

Within days of the commission of this crime, commendable progress has been made in the investigation following the unfortunate incident of burglary at the offices of the Chief Justice.  The multi-disciplinary team led by the Deputy Provincial Commissioner of Crime Detection in Gauteng, Major General Mary Motsepe, has been hard at work and their efforts culminated in the arrest three men in Mamelodi over the past few days.  

The team followed leads and information which resulted in operations being conducted on identified addresses in Mamelodi in search of the stolen equipment and the perpetrators of this crime.  During the search of identified premises, three men were arrested linked to the break-in at the offices of the Chief Justice to enable further investigation into the matter.  Various items including unlicensed firearms and fake identity documents were seized during the operations.  These items are considered evidential material which will be presented in court.  

We are also pleased to report that a vehicle which was possibly used as a getaway car during the commission of the crime has also been seized by our members.  

Further interviewing of those who were arrested revealed the identity of a person with critical information required to resolve the crime and the recovery of the stolen IT equipment. The South African Police Service is calling upon Mr Nkosinathi Msimango, who was in the vicinity of Mamelodi on the day of the arrests and who has valuable information and insight into the commission of this crime to approach the investigating officer and/or report at the nearest police station to assist in this case.  

The three suspects already in custody are expected to appear in court in Mamelodi today.  They will face charges relating to other crimes they were positively linked to pending further investigation on this matter. As the South African Police Service, we record our confidence in the criminal justice system and in particular the courts of this country.  We believe that the seriousness of this crime and the stature of the Office of the Chief Justice will be considered in the further processing of the cases the apprehended people are linked to.   

The outcry and outrage of citizens over this incident is justified because brazen criminals targeted the office of the highest judicial officer in our country.  However, our team’s speedy response to the crime and the thorough investigation of this crime will not go unnoticed, should be commended and recognised by all.  

The South African Police Service has noted with serious concern, misplaced and/or irresponsible utterances and allegations made undermining the mandate of the South African Police Service provided for in the Constitution of our country to prevent, combat and investigate crime.  These statements are demoralising to the hard working members of the South African Police Service and are not assisting in the investigation process.  We call upon responsible citizens and leaders from all walks of life to take up their rightful positions and contribute positively and constructively in the fight against crime. Making baseless and unfounded allegations against any individual or leaders in government is not helpful during the course of investigations of crimes like that which manifested itself at the offices of the Chief Justice.  Casting a shadow of doubt on the capability of the South African Police service to investigate any crime committed is not assisting.  Anyone with credible information relating to this crime or any other crime must feel free to approach the investigating officers and deposit such information to enable the resolution of such crimes committed. 

This significant breakthrough together with the speedy resolution and/or breakthroughs in the cases of baby Siwaphiwe in KwaZulu-Natal as well as the ORTIA heist bears testimony to the fact that the South African Police Service remains committed to prioritising and thoroughly investigating serious crimes such as these in a bid to reduce the incidence of serious and violent crimes in our country.  

We have also sanctioned a security assessment for the purposes of advising on the enhancement of security at the offices of the Chief Justice.  

"We are extremely pleased that our members are working tirelessly to ensure that the perpetrators of this crime are brought to book.  I am urging the people of South Africa to continue to work closely with our members to ensure that incidents which seek to undermine our Constitution must not have a place in our society.  The leadership of the South African Police Service in all provinces continue to intensify their crime combating strategies and operations to ensure a safe and secure environment for all.  The Back-to-Basics approach adopted by the South African Police Service, which encompasses the thorough investigation of all crimes committed is yielding results,” said Acting National Commissioner, Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane.

22 Mar 09:23
The press briefing concludes. 

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Phahlane: On the [former Social Development DG] Zane Dangor matter, I have listened to what was said, even in the media, and it's a matter that I will want to follow up on. If nothing was taken, it doesn't necessarily mean that there was no crime committed.  

You have people who are foreign in that house who have found access in there, that's why there is provision in our common law - attempted robbery, attempted burglary, and so on. We will follow up on the matter. 

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Phahlane says at this stage there is no reason to believe it was an inside job. 

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The stolen computers have not been recovered yet. 

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Phahlane completes his statement, and is now fielding questions. 

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The briefing commences. 

22 Mar 08:51

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22 Mar 08:41

OFFICIAL: Three arrests confirmed in connection with the burglary at the offices of the Chief Justice in Midrand. 

22 Mar 08:23

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Phahlane to brief media on chief justice office robbery 

Acting national police commissioner Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane is expected to brief the media on Wednesday on the recent robbery at the offices of the chief justice in Midrand. 

Phahlane said at the weekend that a multi-disciplinary task team was investigating the robbery that occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning. 

A total of 15 computers containing confidential information of all the South African judges, judiciary staff and all the courts were stolen from the office.

Phahlane said a team led by deputy provincial commissioner of crime detection in Gauteng, Major General Mary Motsepe, had been appointed to expedite the processing of the crime scene. 

22 Mar 08:22


Chief Justice break-in not random - Popcru 

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) on Monday said it suspected that the brazen break-in at Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng's Midrand office was not a random act of crime." 

The burglary signals a well orchestrated act, not only aimed at undermining the judiciary's credibility by way of holding judges at ransom, but also exposing our intelligence services as the weakest point in the detection of the recent acts of this nature," said Popcru spokesperson Richard Mamabolo. 

22 Mar 08:22


Chief Justice burglary not a coincidence - Save SA 

The burglary at Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng's office is no coincidence, Save South Africa said on Sunday.

"The Save South Africa campaign believes it is no coincidence that the ‘burglary’ took place just a day after the courts dealt two embarrassing blows against those intent on undermining our democracy."

Save SA was responding to a robbery where 15 computers in the human resources unit were stolen on Saturday at Chief Justice Mogoeng's office in Midrand.

Save SA said it believed that burglary was connected to the Constitutional Court judgment on Sassa, which reinforced the State’s obligation to pay social grants, and the North Gauteng High Court’s scathing judgment that the appointment of Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza was irrational and invalid. 

22 Mar 08:22


Timing of chief justice burglary 'highly suspicious' - DA 

It is "highly suspicious" that the burglary at the offices of the chief justice in Midrand followed so soon after the Constitutional Court ruled on the Sassa debacle, the DA said on Sunday. "

Like the robbery at the Helen Suzman Foundation, almost a year ago exactly, the DA views this as an act of intimidation," DA MP and former prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach said."

It is highly suspicious that the break-in occurred the day after the Constitutional Court handed down a damning judgment in which they were highly critical of the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, and the social grants crisis she has manufactured." 

22 Mar 08:22


Parliament disturbed by chief justice burglary 

Parliament on Sunday expressed its concern at the break-in at the offices of the chief justice, calling for those responsible to be brought to book.

"Such acts of criminality must be a source of grave concern and shock to those who value our constitutional democracy and its attendant sacrosanct structures," said parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo.

"Criminality of this nature not only undermines the functioning of our judicial system... but also attacks our shared values as a nation."

Mothapo said that police should "leave no stone unturned" in finding those responsible for the crime. 

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