Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga visits one of the licensing centres which was robbed. Picture: Oupa Mokoena
Pretoria - Political sabotage to render the government inept, could be behind the thefts of equipment at licensing centres around the City, says mayor Solly Msimanga.

Speaking to journalists during an oversight visit at the Centurion licensing centre on Friday, he reiterated his belief that the thefts of equipment at several centres were not opportunistic.

Msimanga said information gathered indicated that the robbers knew exactly what they were looking for and where to find what they wanted.

“Expensive machinery that had never been touched was left behind. But they took machinery that would render up to 80% of services at the centres unavailable instead.”

The mayor said the same modus operandi was used in all four robberies at the city’s centres.

This included two robberies at Waltloo, Centurion and an attempted break-in at the Akasia centre.

“There are two scenarios at play here, the first involving a political element to effectively hinder city services and possibly create problems for the DA-led administration.

“The second possibility could be that the robbers were hoping to gain access to the centres’ central database,” he said.

The mayor was prompt to assure the media he had been assured that anyone attempting to access the database would be seen.

“I’m told they will not be able to access that information, which basically means they are sitting with paperwork that is useless. But this is an inconvenience to the people who need to access these services,” he said.

Msimanga said he had also instructed the metro police department to look into the city’s contracts with security vendors at Centurion.

This comes after the mayor announced he was dismayed and shocked to learn that only one security guard was stationed there on the night of the robbery.

“We need to find out from the service providers how many people should have been here on that night and look into the quality of the people being used.

“Where the robbers entered and possibly exited the building, it is suspicious that the security guard did not see them if they were where they were supposed to have been stationed. Cameras were taken out of focus and that takes people who would have known where they are,” said Msimanga.

The mayor said the city had already sent communication to the MEC and minister’s office at the national level to assist with getting the new equipment to the centres as soon as possible.

However, he said it would take time for them to arrive as there were procurement processes that still had to be completed.

Meanwhile, a city of Tshwane employee’s belongings were stolen from his vehicle during the mayor’s visit at Nellmapius.

The employee, who works as a photographer for the city, discovered shortly after the departure of the executive mayor that his car was broken into.

Metro police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba confirmed the theft, saying the member went inside the building briefly only to discover upon his return that his equipment had been stolen from his vehicle.

Mahamba said it appeared that the member’s camera equipment and a cellphone had been stolen.

“What we can do at the moment is to advise the member to open a case of theft out of a motor vehicle at the nearest police station and we will take it from there.

“At this stage we are not sure who is behind the theft. We are, however, appealing to anyone who might have witnessed the situation to come to the TMPD and it will be investigated,” he said.

The metro police spokesperson said he was surprised the incident occurred in the presence of the police at the centre.

He said it was shocking that someone had stolen while officers were there and they would get statements from everyone at the centre and investigate the matter thoroughly.

Pretoria News