27 months and counting: still no arrests after PCs stolen from Chief Justice's offices

2019-06-26 08:30
Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi. (Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24)

Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi. (Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24)

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It has been almost 27 months, and yet there is still no arrest after 15 computers were stolen from the Office of the Chief Justice (OCJ) in Midrand.

The computers were stolen in March 2017 and, at the time, then-acting national police commissioner Kgomotso Phahlane said the computers were taken from the HR department and contained sensitive information about the country's judges.

Gauteng police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters told News24 on Tuesday that the case was still under investigation by the provincial investigating unit. She said there were no updates in the case, adding that no one had been arrested.

In October 2017, charges against a man initially believed to be the mastermind behind the break-in were dropped in the Randburg Magistrate's Court.

This, after the office of the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions declined to prosecute Nkosinathi Msimango. His lawyer, Sammy Mahlangu, had argued that the State's case against his client was weak.

"I knew from the moment I accepted instructions from him [Msimango] that they had nothing against him," he said at the time.

READ MORE: Manager and bookkeeper sentenced to a combined 15 years on over 40 counts of theft and corruption

Msimango handed himself over to the police on March 24, 2017, after they said he had information that could lead to the recovery of the computers. 

This is not the only break-in which occurred at institutions in South Africa. A few days after the break-in at the OCJ, robbers stole computers from the Helen Suzman Foundation's offices in Johannesburg.

Similar break-ins took place at the Hawks and the Pretoria office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. The break-in at the Hawks' office in the Promat Building, Silverton, Pretoria, occurred at the beginning of July 2017.

The burglars targeted the HR, finance and supply chain departments, and stole computers.

The Hawks said at the time that there were no signs of forced entry. Access cards are required to enter the area that was targeted. 

It is believed someone might have opened the office and even had a remote control for the boom at the entrance, News24 previously reported.

Speaking to News24 this week, Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi confirmed that no one was arrested in the matter and there were no leads.  

He said the suspects wore balaclavas and no DNA was found.

However, a man was successfully charged and convicted in connection with break-ins at the Director of Public Prosecutions and Pretoria Magistrate's Court.

Moses Ntakiso was sentenced to 10 years in prison on five counts of housebreaking with intent to steal and theft.  

This, after two prosecutors' laptops were stolen from the offices of the National Prosecuting Authority in Pretoria during the early hours of July 10, 2017.

Burglars broke into two offices on the second floor. Two weeks later, chief prosecutor advocate Matric Luphondo's office in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court was also broken into.

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