Police on the hunt for burglars after Zondo commission break-in
Johannesburg - The Gauteng police are investigating a business robbery following a burglary at the offices of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture on Saturday.
On Sunday, Gauteng police spokesperson Colonel Noxolo Kweza confirmed that they were investigating a business robbery but said details would be released at a later stage after police had completed their investigations.
Kweza was reacting to reports that unknown people broke into the offices of the Zondo Commission on Saturday night and removed various items, including laptops containing vital information.
Cope national spokesperson Dennis Bloem said his party was not surprised by the burglary at the Zondo Commission offices, saying “this is the work of those thieves who have looted the country over the past 10 years”.
“This is part of their strategy to intimidate Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo not to continue with the work of the commission,” Bloem said.
He also said his party was calling upon the police to beef up security around Justice Zondo and the commission’s entire operations..
“These looters are very desperate to conceal the truth and they will do whatever they can to disrupt the work of the Zondo Commission,” Bloem said
Zondo Commission spokesperson Mbuyiselo Stemela confirmed on Sunday that their offices were broken into but could not give finer details of the incident.
“The matter is still under police investigation. We will issue a statement after obtaining details of the burglary from the police,” he said.
Stemela, however, said the the commission hearings would continue today despite the break-in at its offices.
“The commission will hear parliamentary oversight related evidence from the Speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise, on Monday.
“The commission will also hear evidence from the chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Mr Amos Masondo,” Stemela said.
He also said the commission was scheduled to have an evening session to hear parliamentary oversight related evidence from the ANC national chairperson and former secretary-general Gwede Mantashe.
Modise and Masondo are likely to face a grilling about damning evidence heard about the alleged capture of Alexkor Mine in the Northern Cape by politicians and business people.
In January, a long-time contractor of Alexkor Mine told the commission that Parliament had done nothing about his reports of the alleged capture of Alexkor Mine by politicians and business elites of South Africa.
Gavin Craythorne of Equitable Access Campaign (EAC) told the commission that the capture of Alexkor - a state-owned diamond mining company - began with the appointment of Malusi Gigaba as Public Enterprises Minister in 2010.
He said Gigaba, since his appointment, had started propagating the diversification of Alexkor Mine into the coal sector in Mpumalanga and Gauteng.
According to Craythorne, Gigaba and the Alexkor Mine bosses expressed mixed feelings about the future of Alexkor, saying the former minister claimed that Alexkor would retain its role in the diamond industry but would only venture into coal later but said mine bosses sang a different tune.
“The mine bosses, particularly Alexkor Mine board chairperson Mervyn Cartens, had on numerous occasions told Parliament that in the next five to 10 years there would be no diamonds to mine at Alexkor. They’ve misled Parliament. Alexkor Mine had in the past 100 years of existence only mined 10% of the mining assets. This was due to the lack of technology. Since the evolution of technology, more diamonds could be mined. Alexkor Mine is still a gem of diamonds in the world. In fact the entire West Coast, including Namibia,” Craythorne said.
He said the Namibian government and De Beers were still extracting worthy diamonds between the borders of South Africa and Namibia, saying it was proof to him that the West Coast still had large deposits of diamonds.