Burglars rob S. Africa's highest judicial office

South Africa. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

South Africa's Office of the Chief of Justice (OCJ) was on Saturday broken into and 15 computers containing the personal information of 250 judges stolen.

Thieves broke into the Chief Justice's offices in Johannesburg and took the computers from the human resources unit.

The burglary came just about two weeks after a $15 million heist at the OR Tambo International Airport.

A huge setback

Spokesperson for the Chief Justice Nathi Mncube said the break-in was a major setback for the country's highest judicial office.

“The stolen computers contain important information about judges and officials of the OCJ and their removal constitutes a huge setback for the entire administration of the justice,” Mr Mncube said.

The Chief Justice, Mr Mogoeng Mogoeng, said the burglary must be viewed in a very serious light and urged the police to ensure that the culprits were brought to book.

An attack

The Acting National Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane, has ordered a thorough investigation into the break-in.

“The South African Police Service deems the break-in at the offices of the Chief Justice as an attack on the Judicial System and views this in a serious light. We condemn in the strongest terms this unfortunate incident; we have assembled a team of detectives to process the investigation. The team is working around the clock with a view to bring the perpetrators of this crime to book,” Lt Gen. Phahlane said.

He added that he would order an assessment for purposes of advising on the enhancement of security at the offices.

Direct assault

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) said targeting the office of the highest judicial officer should leave all South Africans outraged and law enforcement officers determined to speedily bring to book its perpetrators.

“Targeting the Office of the Chief Justice however is a direct assault on the sanctity of the institutions we, as South Africans, hold dear as propping up our Constitutional order. All people in South Africa are entitled to live in safety and free from crime,” ANC said in a statement.

ANC also called on law enforcement agencies to ensure that the criminals were dealt with.

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