Vital equipment stolen from Gift of the Givers’ Cape Town office during early morning break-in
‘It’s a total mess at the moment,’ said Gift of the Givers’ Western Cape project manager, Ali Sablay, after a break-in at the humanitarian organisation’s Cape Town offices.
The Gift of the Givers’ Cape Town office was broken into early on Monday morning. A laptop, a desktop computer and other office equipment were stolen from the office in Penlyn Estate, said Ali Sablay, Gift of the Givers’ Western Cape project manager.
He told Daily Maverick that when staff arrived on Monday morning, they saw a main gate open and became suspicious.
“They saw the building; it was completely ransacked… it’s a total mess at the moment,” said Sablay.
“The main laptop has been stolen from our office lady — it’s very, very unfortunate for the underprivileged people of the Western Cape because, on that laptop, people register for food parcels.”
The laptop was also used to register schools for food gardens and stationery.
“So these people not only stole from Gift of the Givers, [but] from people as well. Information has to be recaptured and people have to come again,” said Sablay.
He said TVs and desks were also stolen, along with awards and certificates. Gift of the Givers was still trying to establish whether personal protective equipment and medication for diseases such as high blood pressure were among the stolen items.
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The organisation was busy providing relief to residents of Philippi, Masiphumelele and Khayelitsha, which had been hit by fires in recent days.
“Last week, our teams were making up clothing packs for the six fires in the Western Cape… to distribute to fire victims — that, unfortunately, has all been stolen as well,” said Sablay.
Read more in Daily Maverick: “Thousands left homeless as blaze ravages Cape Town informal settlements”
Sablay said the organisation thanked community members who had assisted the police with investigating the break-in. However, Sablay said there were elements within communities who could have been responsible for the break-in while their families benefited from services provided by Gift of the Givers.
“It could have been your mother, your grandmother’s name on that laptop,” said Sablay. “This does not affect Gift of the Givers’ operations; this was not our warehouse that was broken into, it was our office that was broken into.”
This was a setback for communities who needed aid from the organisation, as “that will be a bit delayed now”. Sablay appealed for anyone in the area who might be offered a used laptop for sale to come forward.
“Lansdowne police are investigating a case of a business break-in. No arrest has been made at this stage,” said police spokesperson Captain Frederick van Wyk.
Anyone with information about this incident is requested to contact the Lansdowne police station at 021 700 9046/43 or Crime Stop at 08600 10111. DM
Update: SAPS confirmed on Tuesday morning that 10 suspects had been arrested for possession of stolen property. Daily Maverick will provide the details of the recovery of goods in a forthcoming story.