THE KWAZULU-NATAL Social Development Department expressed shock after unknown suspects broke into an office of the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) at the Ngome area on September 9. Suspects broke into the Inkosi Mbongeleni Zondi office in Ngome, outside Greytown, where they allegedly tied up security guards with cables before they stole office equipment, files, television sets, computers, and a microwave. Ward Councillor Zwakushiwo Ndlovu confirmed the incident and urged residents to report criminal activities to police.“This is a public facility that is being used by our community. We condemn such criminal activities. “The facility is used by local residents who are unable to travel to Greytown to access Sassa services. We urge the public to come forward with information that will help the police arrest the suspects,” said Ndlovu. Social Development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza expressed anger and shock at the recurring break-ins of government offices during which office equipment such as computers and valuable documents are stolen. Khoza said the employees of the department under the Midlands Cluster Districts [uMzinyathi, Amajuba and UThukela] laid bare their challenges when they met with her for the first time during her roadshow to understand the plight of the workers. The purpose of the meeting was for the MEC to get a deeper understanding of the implementation of departmental programmes, achievements and challenges faced by the employees.“We want to see members of the public working closely with the police to expose these criminals. “It’s very hard to believe that criminals continue to target Social Development and Sassa offices. Last month, we experienced break-ins at Umlazi, Bhamshela, KwaDukuza, Mpumalanga, Pinetown, and Inkosi Mbongeleni Zondi one-stop shops. “In the eThekwini cluster alone we had four office break-ins between February and August,” Khoza said. “We need the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster to crackdown on these criminals. “We want to see the police making an example of the criminals who are stealing important government tools which are used to render services to our people,” she said.The MEC implored employees of the department to continue executing their mandate and not be sidetracked by criminals. “We can win the war against this crime when we work together with the communities. “I know that some members of the public know these criminals and we urge them to alert the police. You cannot be happy that you are using a stolen computer at home. “Our community should refrain from creating a market for criminals,” she ended.Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane said: “Security guards were in their workplace at Ngome when they were allegedly accosted by unknown gunmen who tied them up with cables and robbed them of office equipment, cellphones, television sets, and a microwave. “The suspects fled in their getaway vehicle. A case of business robbery was opened at Greytown Police Station for investigation,” said Zwane.