Spate of break-ins at government buildings sparks questions

A pro-democracy activist has labelled a series of high-profile burglaries at State institutions as “highly perturbing”.

The NPA burglary is believed to have occurred during the early hours of this morning when thieves gained access to the highly secure Church Square building. Once inside‚ they made their way to the second floor‚ bypassing several offices. They then went to several rooms‚ apparently used by prosecuting staff‚ and climbed into them through windows above the doors.

They then went to several rooms‚ apparently used by prosecuting staff‚ and climbed into them through windows above the doors.

The burglary follows a similarly styled break-in earlier this year at the Office of Chief Justice in Midrand.

Helen Suzman Foundation director‚ Francis Antonie‚ whose own organisation was also burgled under similar circumstances last year‚ described the break-ins as “highly perturbing”.

“It’s not just one burglary that we are talking about. It was first our office‚ then the chief justice’s office and Hawks (5 July 2017) and now the prosecutors’ offices.

“We hesitate to say that there is a pattern here‚ but clearly institutions of state are being targeted. The question remains by whom and for what purpose.”

Neither the police nor the NPA returned calls for comment on the burglary.

In March‚ the Office of the Chief Justice in Johannesburg was burgled and 15 computers were stolen which contained sensitive information about the country’s judges. The crime took place at the Midrand offices‚ where the human resources and facilities units are located. Three people were arrested.

On June 30‚ the first day of the ANC policy conference‚ there were two fires at government buildings – the offices of both the premiers of Gauteng and Eastern Cape.

The Johannesburg fire was on the seventh floor of the building‚ where the finance department was housed. Gauteng Premier David Makhura said whatever information had been burnt on the seventh floor was safe as the office had off-site storage facilities where information was backed up. He attributed the fire to an electrical fault.

The Eastern Cape office of Premier Phumulo Masualle caught fire in Bhisho at around 3pm on the same day. An employee saw smoke coming from the storage area where the Office of the Premier keeps its archives. The main building was not affected. “It’s one of those things that on a day like this [the ANC policy conference] can be quite confusing‚” Masualle told reporters.

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