- Three people have been arrested for allegedly stealing boxes initially believed to contain important information meant for the DA.
- The suspects robbed the courier truck outside the DA's offices in Cape Town.
- A DA MP issued a retraction after claiming the men allegedly stole documents the party had been waiting for from the National Lotteries Commission.
Three men were arrested after they allegedly stole sealed boxes initially believed to have contained confidential documents outside the DA's offices in Cape Town on Monday.
According to Western Cape police, the men approached the complainant and his colleague in Mill Street, Gardens, where they were scheduled to deliver goods, at around 14:30 on Monday.
"One of the suspects forced the passenger into the vehicle, upon which they took sealed boxes from the vehicle and fled the scene in a VW Polo," police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi said.
He added the suspects were later apprehended by members of the Flying Squad when their vehicle was brought to a halt near to Ascension and Duinefontein roads in Heideveld.
The men - aged 29, 32 and 39 - were arrested and detained on charges of possession of stolen property, possession of a unlicenced firearm and possession of a stolen vehicle.
DA MP Mat Cuthbert initially claimed the stolen boxes contained documents the party had been waiting for from the National Lotteries Commission (NLC), relating to a service provider it had apparently contracted for advice on how to distribute Covid-19 relief.
Cuthbert subsequently retracted his statement, saying he had made a mistake and should have made certain of all the facts before issuing the statement.
He said the DA was in possession of the documents from the NLC, which the party had requested through a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application.
It is not yet clear what was in the stolen boxes.
DA Federal chairperson Helen Zille said: "My understanding was that the robbery happened; Mat was expecting a memory stick to be delivered.
"There was a misunderstanding as to whether it had been or not, and the conclusion was reached by those involved that it had not been. Then very large boxes were delivered to the DA that had nothing to do with us. Finally, a person established that the memory stick had in fact been delivered, and transferred them to Mat Cuthbert."
The NLC said it was shocked at hearing about the robbery.
Its spokesperson, Ndivhuho Mafela, confirmed it had granted the PAIA application in its entirety.
"As per the requirements of the proactive funding model, the NLC needed to satisfy itself as to the impact of its intervention during the Covid-19 pandemic."
The NLC added due to the large volume of documents, the information could not be sent via email.
A courier service was engaged to deliver the documents on a USB.