Mbalula must answer on Hawks' office burglary - DA

Acting Hawks boss Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata (Mpho Raborife, News24)
Acting Hawks boss Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata (Mpho Raborife, News24)

Cape Town - The Portfolio Committee on Police condemned the burglary at the Hawks' head offices on Tuesday evening.

The committee will call the acting head of the Hawks, Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata and explain the circumstance under which this security breach occurred, according to a statement from the committee's chairperson, ANC MP Francois Beukman.

"The committee finds it difficult to comprehend how this burglary occurred in an office that has a responsibility to fight organised and serious crimes," said Beukman. 

"There’s a lot at stake here and we want the acting head to brief the committee about this serious breach."

Beukman said this after reports emerged on Wednesday morning that intruders broke in at the Hawks offices and stole computers containing confidential information on human resources, finance and supply chain management.

Police minister

The DA also condemned the break-in.

"Police Minister Fikile Mbalula must let the nation know what actions are being taken to find out who was responsible for the break-in and what contingencies are being put in place to stop similar incidents from happening," said Zakhele Mbhele, DA MP and spokesperson on police. 

"It should be one of the minister’s priorities to ensure that in the future, this independent organised crime fighting unit is protected from all acts of intimidation, threats and attacks."

He said it is probably no coincidence that this "unprecedented" incident takes place in the run-up to the ANC's elective conference. 

"Seen in this light, it is quite likely that this break-in was a politically-motivated act as part of ANC factional fighting that is playing out in a public sector arena that is meant to be insulated from politics.

Mbhele is concerned about what he calls a "growing culture of intimidation in South Africa".  

Also read: 9 mysterious cases of intimidation and stolen information

"There is a clear trend at the moment that those who speak out or take a stand against corruption are being targeted.

"In 2016, files were stolen from the Helen Suzman Foundation; four months ago, there was a break-in at the Office of the Chief Justice where 15 computers storing confidential information on South Africa's 250 judges were stolen, and just last week, suspicious fires broke out in both the Gauteng and Eastern Cape premiers' offices."

He said the break-in at the Hawks should receive Mbalula's undivided attention.




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