Avatar photo

By Citizen Reporter

Journalist


Three men arrested for chief justice crime, Phahlane slams Mahlobo allegations

The men were nabbed in Mamelodi. The cops are now looking for a man named Nkosinathi Msimango.


Acting national commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane on Wednesday announced numerous details about the arrests linked to the recent break-in at the offices of the chief justice in Midrand.

He said that three men had been arrested in Mamelodi, a Tshwane township.

He called on a man named Nkosinathi Msimango, who Phahlane said had critical information and was in the vicinity of Mamelodi during the time of the arrests, to report to his nearest police station to “assist in this matter”.

When questioned, he denied that the man was a suspect, merely that he had “critical information”.

The three suspects in custody will appear in court in Mamelodi on Wednesday and have also been linked to other crimes and will appear for those too, “pending further investigation”.

There was countrywide uproar after 15 computers were stolen from the office in what was perceived as an attack on the judiciary. Only specific computers containing personal information, such as residential addresses and bank accounts, of judges and other employees, were taken.

He said that although the outrage about the brazen crime was justified, Phahlane said the police’s speedy response needed to be commended and recognised, while the SAPS noted with “serious concern misplaced and/or irresponsible utterances and  allegations” that “undermined the mandate of the SAPS” to investigate crime.

He said the statements were demoralising and did not assist the investigation process. He was clearly referring to the fact that, in some quarters, suspicion had fallen on State Security Minister David Mahlobo, though there has been no evidence to link any government worker to the crimes.

“My rational suspicion is that the State Security Agency (Mahlobo) broke into the chief justice’s office and stole computers,” Economic Freedom Fighters deputy president Floyd Shivambu tweeted on Saturday.

The chief whip of the Democratic Alliance, John Steenhuisen, also tweeted that his money was on Mahlobo and the “kak-handed” State Security Agency being behind the break-in.

Phahlane said the arrested men were not insiders at the chief justice’s offices. “They are just criminals.”

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng had hauled Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini over the coals on Thursday, which was followed by Constitutional Court Justice Johan Froneman’s scathing remarks on the failure to appoint a new distributor for the SA Social Security Agency’s (Sassa) monthly grants to more than 17 million people and the North Gauteng High Court’s evisceration of Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza on Friday, March 17.

The break-in at Mogoeng’s head office was on March 18.

Then on Monday, March 20, robbers hit the home of former social development director-general Zane Dangor, who resigned in the middle of the Sassa storm.

They roughed up his domestic worker and his son after entering the home under false pretences but police reportedly told him they couldn’t open a case because “nothing was stolen”.

In response to this, Phahlane said on Wednesday that a crime could still have taken place despite nothing having been stolen.

“We will follow the matter up.” He said they would need to determine who had said no case could be opened, since an attempt at committing a crime was still a crime.

Dangor said in a 702 Radio interview on Tuesday that one of the vehicles involved in the attempted robbery at his home may have been used to try to gain access to the home of Sassa CEO Thokozani Magwaza.

A multidisciplinary team led by the deputy provincial commissioner of crime detection in Gauteng, Major-General Mary Motsepe, was appointed to expedite the processing of the chief justice crime scene and the police added that they were investigating a separate incident in which a South Gauteng High Court judge was robbed at his home.

//

For more news your way, follow The Citizen on Facebook and Twitter.

Read more on these topics

break in chief justice Phahlane Police

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits