The lawyer for one of the men linked to the break-in at the office of the Chief Justice has a history of taking on clients accused of crimes involving the State Security Agency (SSA) and the police.
Sammy Mahlangu is the legal representative for Nkosinathi Moses Msimango, the man who was arrested on Friday in connection with the theft of 15 computers from the office of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng last Saturday.
Msimango, who was arrested after he’d handed himself in at the Boschkop police station in Pretoria, has strongly denied that he has links to the SSA, as has been widely speculated since the brazen robbery.
Mahlangu, who assured News24 that his client is in no way connected to the country’s intelligence structures, recently represented another man who was accused of being the mastermind behind the theft of R17m in foreign currency from the SSA’s head office in Pretoria in December 2015.
The Hawks labelled the crime as an “inside job” and two SSA employees – William Mmotong and Khayalethu Mgatyelwa – were later charged alongside Mahlangu’s client, Albert Ramabele. The charges against all three men have since been dropped.
The Pretoria-based lawyer has also represented a “blue lights gang” that included two Mamelodi police officers. The gang was apprehended in 2010 and appeared in the Pretoria Magistrates Court on charges related to the fitting of blue emergency lights to a civilian vehicle and the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
News24 queried Mahlangu over the fact that he is now representing a man alleged to be a spook after he’d acted for another individual linked to a robbery at the SSA, but the lawyer maintains it is mere coincidence.
On Friday, Business Day reported that Msimango was allegedly receiving protection from “elements in the state security services” after the break-in at the Chief Justice’s office.
“He [Msimango, the Chief Justice office break-in suspect] lives close to where I live in Mamelodi, that is how I happened to become his lawyer,” said Mahlangu. He says Ramabele also lives nearby, which is how he became the latter’s lawyer after the theft at the SSA.
“The only connection between the two cases is that both men happen to live in my area,” says Mahlangu.
He added that when he asked Msimango over his supposed links to the SSA, his client “laughed it off”.
Fake numbers, addresses
Last week, two men originally described by police as being suspects in the break-in at Mogoeng’s office – Given Msimango and Bigboy Yose – appeared in the Mamelodi Magistrates Court on what was described as unrelated charges. It has since been reported that Given and Nkosinathi Msimango are brothers.
News24 subsequently reported that the backgrounds of all three men were marked by fake employment histories, a string of non-existent telephone numbers and residential addresses that don’t seem to check out.
Nkosinathi Msimango, for instance, had listed a property in an estate in Mooikloof Ridge as his residential address as recently as 2014. However, the owner of the listed property has indicated that no such person has ever lived on the property.
The SSA has repeatedly denied allegations that the break-in and the theft of the computers, which are thought to contain sensitive information on employees of the country’s judiciary, are somehow linked to the spy agency.[Source: News24]