Statement from Helen Suzman Foundation on its office robbery
Monday 21 March: The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) was the target of an armed break-in to its offices in Parktown, Johannesburg on Sunday afternoon 20 March. After holding up an unarmed security guard at the entrance to the premises, the robbers made directly for the HSF’s offices on the second floor of the building and removed its computers.
"This was no ordinary robbery", says Francis Antonie, director of the Foundation, “the thieves knew exactly what they were after. We obviously do not know who they were, but we have our deep suspicions.
"After forcing the guard to open the gate, the invaders drove their vehicle into the basement of the building, where they knew there was a lift to the second floor. Other businesses in the building were left alone. Nothing else of value besides the computers was taken."
The HSF is one of several civic organisations which have embarked on litigation against the Government in an attempt to preserve and protect civil rights and freedoms under the Constitution.
Most recently, the HSF and the legal organisation, Freedom under Law, sought to interdict the head of the Hawks, Major General Berning Ntlemeza, from exercising his powers, pending a review of the processes leading to his appointment. General Ntlemeza was appointed by President Zuma to the highest office within the Hawks, the country’s leading corruption and crime fighting unit, notwithstanding previously damning judicial findings impugning his integrity, honesty and fitness.
"This action against a public-interest NGO is an example of the illegality running riot in our country. We deplore it. The HSF wants nothing more than a country which protects its citizens’ rights through the due process of law. The HSF calls on all civil society organisations, the business community as well as the public at large to stand together and speak out loudly in defence of the ever-growing threat to the hard-won freedoms enshrined in our Constitution.”
Statement issued by Francis Antonie, Director of the Helen Suzman Foundation, 21 March 2016