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South Africans are outraged at burglary of Chief Justice’s office

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- The ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Saturday voiced outrage at a burglary at the Office of the Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, saying the break-in highlights the seriousness of crime in the country.

The ANC has learnt with shock of the burglary in Midrand near Johannesburg in the early hours of Saturday morning, ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said.

"This dastardly criminal act, targeting the office of the highest judicial officer in our country, should leave all South Africans outraged and our law enforcement officers determined to speedily find and bring to book its perpetrators," said Kodwa.

The ANC, he said, has always held the view that one criminal act, regardless of against whom it is perpetrated, is one too many.

"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," said Kodwa.

All people in South Africa are entitled to live in safety and free from crime and they also want a strong, robust criminal justice system in which they have the fullest confidence in, he said.

"The cowardly act of breaking into the Offie of the Chief Justice is an affront on these aspirations and an attack on the very fibre of our democracy," Kodwa said in a statement emailed to Xinhua.

The ANC therefore calls on law enforcement agencies to use all resources at their disposal to ensure that these criminals are dealt with to the full extent of the law, Kodwa said.

The ANC further calls on the Office of the Chief Justice to ensure that all its remaining information is secured and mitigate against any efforts to undermine or compromise the dispensing of justice as a result of the break in, the spokesperson said.

"What is required is for a collaborative effort across our law enforcement agencies, sparing no effort and with the full support and confidence of our people, to make those responsible to account," he said.

South Africa, which has one of the highest crime rates in the world, reported 807,000 housebreaking and home robberies in 2015/16, according to Statistics South Africa.


South African police arrest Tthree for breaking into Chief Justice’s office

PRETORIA South Africa (Xinhua) -- The South African police said Wednesday that they had arrested three suspects for breaking into the office of the Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogeong.

This was revealed by the Acting National Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane briefing the media in Pretoria.

Last Saturday unknown people broke into the Chief Justice’s office in Johannesburg and stole 15 computers with sensitive information.

Phahlane said, "The multi-disciplinary team has been hard at work and their efforts culminated in the arrest three men in Mamelodi over the past few days.

"The team followed leads and information which resulted in operations being conducted on identified addresses in Mamelodi in search of the stolen equipment and the perpetrators of this crime."

"During the search of identified premises, three men were arrested linked to the break-in at the offices of the Chief Justice to enable further investigation into the matter," he added.

The stolen computers have not yet been recovered.

Phahlane said the motive of the break in is unknown.

The arrested suspects are not employees of the Justice Department but just criminals.

The police are treating the break in into the Chief Justice’s office with seriousness, and the police are also concerned with the security breach at the Chief Justice’s office that why they have sanctioned a security assessment, he said.

Phahlane said, "Various items including unlicensed firearms and fake identity documents were seized during the operations.

"These items are considered evidential material which will be presented in court.

"We are also pleased to report that a vehicle which was possibly used as a getaway car during the commission of the crime has also been seized by our members."

The police chief declined to give more information about the CCTV footage saying it’s not for public consumption at this stage.

Phahlane called on South Africans to come up with information which could assist in the arresting the suspects.

He cautioned the people against making baseless statements.

This comes after the opposition political party, Democratic Alliance Chief Whip, John Steenhuisen said the state security is responsible for the break in into the Chief Justice’s office.


Government deeply regrets undue anxiety over grant distribution: Zuma

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- The South African government deeply regrets the undue anxiety that resulted from the uncertainty over grant distribution, President Jacob Zuma said on Saturday.

"We apologize to South Africans unreservedly," Zuma said in a statement.

He was speaking after the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) ruled on Friday that Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) can continue paying social grants to millions of eligible beneficiaries for another 12 months, settling a dispute that had rattled the country.

Zuma said the Court has given clear directives on the extension of the grants distribution and the parameters within which the government must operate in this regard.

"I want to assure all grant beneficiaries that government will implement the directive of the Constitutional Court and uphold the Constitutional rights of the poor and vulnerable in our society," he said.

Under the ConCourt ruling, CPS and the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) must continue paying social grants until another entity which can do so is found.

The ruling put to rest speculations that no grants would be paid to about 17 million pensioners next month due to the government’s failure to set up the legal mechanism to distribute the grants.

A contract between the SASSA and CPS for the grant distribution had been declared illegal by the ConCourt years ago.

But in Friday’s ruling, the Court said the declaration of the invalidity of the previous contract between the SASSA and CPS would be suspended for 12 months.

The terms and conditions in the previous contract would continue to apply, according to the ruling.

The CPS had asked the Court to allow it to enter into a new and "lawful" contract with the SASSA after the existing contract expires on March 31.

Early this month, the Court reserved judgment in the SASSA and CPS saga, fueling anxiety over the grant payment.

The Court then failed to get an answer from the CPS about how much it would charge for distributing social grants if it concludes a new contract with the SASSA.

If CPS wanted to change how much it got paid, it could approach National Treasury, according to the new ruling.

Social security is one of the socio-economic rights that are mentioned specifically in South Africa’s Constitution.

"It is for this reason that we have worked so hard since 1994 to ensure that we bring millions of our poor and vulnerable citizens into the social security net," Zuma said.

The social assistance system plays its role in alleviating poverty and providing support to orphans and vulnerable children, military veterans, older persons and persons with disabilities.


South Africans will draw lessons from social grant saga assures Zuma




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