National institution under threat from criminal activities 27 August 2007
The South African Human Rights Commission has had yet another armed robbery at its Johannesburg offices yesterday. This is the second armed robbery, after the one that took place last month and the seventh burglary since the occupation of the Commission in the current building.
Again in this robbery, the same modus operandi was executed by the armed robbers who targeted the same two floors and took a substantial number of hard-drives and flat screen monitors, amongst other things. The robbers tied-up a Commissioner and members of staff who, at the time were working overtime, trying to deal with the backlog from the first robbery in July.
The Commission is concerned that the same gang of armed robbers could be responsible for these criminal activities and that there could be a link between the two armed robberies. In particular, the Commission is worried about the impunity with which these robbers display at these robberies for example, by not hiding their faces.
Another major concern is the ineffectiveness of the law enforcement agencies in dealing with these matters. Thus far, on all the previous robberies, the South African Police Service (SAPS) has not been able to make any arrests and have not provided any feedback to the Commission. Another example of such inefficiency demonstrated by the SAPS members is that since the last robbery, no identikits were been drawn and statements were taken only from the security personnel and only after persuasion by the Commission.
Attacks such as these undermine the work and the efficacy of the Commission and we would like to plead with government and law enforcement agencies to increase efficiency of their members by providing the necessary training and appropriate resources to facilitate speedy resolution of these cases. Members of the public are also urged to provide the police with information as and when they witness criminal activity taking place.