Tuesday, December 19, 2006

South Africa: Thieves broke into a busy Johannesburg police station, helped themselves to liquor and started a fire in the commissioner's office


Beeld said not even the electronic security doors in front of Commissioner Simon Mpembe's office in Johannesburg central police station could stop the burglars from lifting his "treasured golden teaspoons."

Aside from starting a fire on Mpembe's wooden floor, they also took sweets from his secretary's office and two cellphones were stolen, the newspaper said.

Police spokesman Sergeant Sanku Tsunke said he had no information that the burglars set the commissioner's floor on fire and helped themselves to liquor but confirmed they broke into the canteen.

"They took food from the canteen for people who are waiting trial. They took two mobile telephones from the office of the commissioner's secretary," he said.

South Africa is battling one of the highest crime rates in the world and opposition groups and the media have accused the government of failing to curb violence, including rampant murder and rape and car hijackings.

Incidents such as the break-in are likely to fuel concerns that the underpaid and outgunned police force may not be up to the job of helping the government convince the world South Africa is a safe place before the 2010 World Cup.

Newspapers are filled with reports of violent robberies.

Outrage over latest farm killing

To our neo-liberalist friends: One day we will meet you in hell


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