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Thieves hit homes of top South African police

The homes of two top South African police officials were burgled at the weekend, but a spokesman said Sunday that the incidents appeared unrelated.

Thieves made off with a plasma TV and other electronics from the Pretoria home of former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi on Saturday evening, Lieutenant Colonel Tshisikhawe Ndou told the Sapa news agency.

Burglars made a similar haul the night before from the Johannesburg home of Gauteng provincial police commissioner Mzwandile Petros, he said.

“These are two separate incidents, they are not linked at all. The one occurred in Johannesburg and the other in Pretoria,” Ndou told Sapa.

Neither man was home when the burglaries happened. In both cases the thieves broke through security gates to enter the homes, he added.

Petros was brought to Gauteng from Cape Town last year because of his tough-on-crime reputation.

South Africa has a notoriously high crime rate, with an average 46 killings a day. About half of all crime takes place in Gauteng, the small but rich province that is home to the economic hub Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria.

Selebi, once the national police chief and Interpol president, has became a symbol of the problems plaguing police. Last year he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for accepting bribes from organised crime, but is free on bail pending an appeal.