Mpumalanga police have launched an investigation following a third burglary at the provincial department of human settlements offices in five weeks.
In the latest incident, the thieves got away with five laptops and seven desktops on Saturday. The computers were stolen from the risk management, transversal services, human resource planning and human resource development units.
Police spokesperson Colonel Donald Mdhluli said they had opened a case of business burglary and were appealing to anyone with information to come forward.
The motive for the burglaries is still unknown.
The other two break-ins happened last month when laptops and computers were stolen. It is suspected that the thieves have been looking for critical information to cover up alleged corruption.
However, human settlements spokesperson Freddy Ngobe said the department had no corruption cases being investigating or that had been referred to law enforcement agencies.
“The department does not know the motive. However, investigations are currently underway and may reveal the reasons behind the incidents,” Ngobe said.
The offices are in a government complex, a national key point which is under 24-hour police guard.
Following the incidents last month, the provincial department of public works installed closed-circuit television cameras and posted security officers to man the area, Ngobe said.
“Criminals normally use the back part of the government complex then jump the fence and gain forceful access to the building from the back,” he said, adding that the police had not yet made any breakthrough on the incidents last month.
When the first break-in happened, a source within government said that surveillance cameras had been dysfunctional for a while.
The break-ins happened after departmental head, Kebone Masange (51), was charged for allegedly falsifying citizenship documents.
However, there is no evidence to link the burglaries to Masange’s citizenship battle even though sources told City Press that it raised questions why the department began experiencing this crime after the arrest.
Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane placed the Zimbabwe-born Masange on special leave.
The Hawks have charged Masange with fraud in contravention of the Immigration Act after he misrepresented himself three times before the department of home affairs which resulted in him being issued three identity documents (IDs).
Masange, the former municipal manager of Newcastle Local Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal, applied for two IDs as a South African and a third one as a Zimbabwean when he was granted an exemption to be in the country in 1997. He appeared in the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court and was released on warning.