By Molaole Montsho for IOL
Four men were arrested for allegedly stealing 18 laptops, a projector and groceries valued at R78 000 from a school in Bloemfontein on Tuesday.
Free State police spokesperson Brigadier Motantsi Makhele said the men, aged between 17 and 25, were arrested on Tuesday morning after police acted on an intelligence-driven operation around Ipopeng and Freedom Square.
“A principal from the local school in Olive Hill, Navalsig, received an alarm notification from school. Upon arrival at about 08.30, he realised that a window to the storeroom was broken. He discovered that 18 HP laptops, school feeding scheme groceries and a projector, all valued at R78 000, were stolen. A case of burglary was opened for investigation,” Makhele said.
The first suspect was apprehended in Ipopeng, where one laptop was recovered. Information led police to Freedom Square where 11 more laptops were recovered and three suspects arrested, Makhele said.
“Upon further investigation, police recovered three more laptops that were already sold to a second-hand goods dealer in town. Investigations are under way to recover the remaining laptops.”
The four are expected to appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court soon facing charges of business burglary and the possession of suspected stolen property.
Free State provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Baile Motswenyane advised residents to refrain from buying suspected stolen goods as they would also be charged. She encouraged second-hand goods dealers to request proof of ownership when they bought second-hand goods.
In the Eastern Cape, two men were arrested on Tuesday in connection with a house robbery in Gelvandale, police said.
Spokesperson Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg said a woman was woken by a noise at 1am to find three men in her bedroom.
The suspects fled with a television set and her cellphone.
The woman woke up the other occupants in the house and, while they were waiting for the police to arrive, the suspects returned. As the police arrived on the scene, they were informed that the the suspects had returned and a description of the suspects was provided to them.
The police received information that the men were hiding in a house in Gelvandale.
Two suspects were arrested and the stolen television set recovered.
The suspects, aged 19 and 20, were arrested on charges of house robbery and will appear in the Gelvandale Magistrate’s Court during the week.
The Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation unit has arrested a 36-year old suspect in Gauteng for his alleged involvement in last year’s Experian data breach.
Last August, credit bureau Experian suffered a data breach that exposed the personal information of as many as 24 million South Africans and 793 749 business entities to a suspected fraudster.
In a statement released today, the Hawks says Experian is believed to have entered into a contract with the suspect who was disguised as a business owner.
“The suspect purported to be a certain Tebogo Mogashoa, a director of Talis Holdings. The agreement [with Experian] gave the person access to the personal information held by the credit bureau of millions of people. The suspect then proceeded to download approximately 23 million personal data records and 727 000 business records. The suspect then attempted to sell these records at about R4.2 million,” the Hawks statement reads.
Following the data breach incident, it emerged that some data from the credit bureau was later compromised and dumped on the Internet.
According to a report by iAfrikan, after investigations and a tip-off, the alleged Experian database was made available on the Web – on publicly viewable Web sites and forums.
Experian confirmed at the time that the files found on the Internet were identified as files which contain Experian data relating to the data breach incident, noting that it was taking all steps available to investigate the incident and reduce further dissemination of information.
The Pietermaritzburg High Court issued an arrest warrant for former president Jacob Zuma on Tuesday, after he skipped court on grounds of needing medical treatment, but High Court Judge Dhaya Pillay stayed the warrant until his corruption trial resumes on 6 May.
Zuma’s lawyer Daniel Mantsha presented the judge with a sick note from what he said was a military hospital, but the judge questioned whether the note was valid or even written by a doctor.
Earlier Senior state prosecutor Advocate Billy Downer told the Pietermaritzburg High Court that the State was seeking a warrant of arrest for the former state president.
Downer made the request because Zuma had not submitted a medical certificate nor let the State know what the alleged illness was that kept him from proceedings on Tuesday.
Downer said the State had been made aware of the former president’s absence from Tuesday’s hearing in good time, but follow-up correspondence to his lawyer Daniel Mantsha regarding a medical certificate and the nature of Zuma’s illness had received no response.
Downer said the warrant could be issued but the actual arrest left pending until the court had undertaken an investigation into Zuma’s absence.
“Zuma’s absence is disappointing; we want Mr Mantsha to tell us what the illness is and why Zuma can’t be here. It is a criminal offence for the accused not to be present if he has been warned in court. The court would have to enquire into reasons for his absence,” said Downer.
He asked that the warrant be issued at the end of Tuesday’s proceedings. Downer also said that if Zuma chose to speak of his illness in closed proceedings, the state would not object.
Mantsha countered that Zuma’s illness was a matter of “state security” and the purvey of military doctors.
Zuma was also not able to appear before a sitting of the commission of inquiry into state capture last year because of illness. He has been seeking treatment outside the country.
The matter continues.
The Hawks – also known as the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation – on Wednesday morning swooped in on the Gupta family home in Saxonwold, where they reportedly arrested one of the brothers and an associate.
Two other people are reportedly negotiating a handover.
ENCA is reporting that one Gupta brother and an associate have been arrested, but Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said it was “just speculation”.
He said the Hawks had “concluded that operation” and were moving on to other addresses to continue their probe.
Mulaudzi said the raid was part of an investigation into allegations of influence peddling in the government.
“We’re viewing this investigation in a very serious light. We’re not playing around in terms of making sure that those who are responsible in the so-called state capture, they take responsibility for it,” Mulaudzi said.
He declined to give details of what was seized or if the business premises of the Guptas would also be raided, saying a full statement would be released later on Wednesday.
The Guptas have a close relationship with President Jacob Zuma and his family.
The raid comes amid a probe into allegations that the family used their links with the president to win state contracts and influence Cabinet appointments.
The raid on the family home of the Guptas comes a day after the ANC ordered Zuma to step down as head of state after nine years in office dogged by scandal and a stagnant economy.
Zuma and the Guptas – a family of wealthy Indian-born businessmen – deny any wrongdoing.
A lawyer for the Gupta family said he could not comment on the raid because he had yet to see the search warrant.
On Wednesday morning a dozen heavily armed tactical police blocked off a street leading to the Gupta home in Saxonwold. A police officer told Reuters: “This is a crime scene.”
Two cars of the elite police unit were seen parked outside the mega homestead.
A group of officers, some in police gear, later emerged from the home. They drove off without addressing a throng of journalists camped outside the house.
The home remained guarded by private security guards. Clad in black, they were seen opening a gate for a car that drove in.
The Saxonwold home has over the years also garnered its own controversy.
Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela pinpointed it as a venue for various dodgy meetings between members of the Gupta family and government officials.
By Ed Cropley, Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and ANA for IOL