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Thursday, 7 September, 2000, 10:05 GMT 11:05 UK
Break-in at Mbeki's home

President Mbeki spends little time at his Cape Town home
A man has been arrested after breaking into South African President Thabo Mbeki's Cape Town residence at the weekend and helping himself to food and drink and making himself at home.

No one was in the house at the time, with the president away in New York at the United Nations Millennium Summit.

According to presidential spokeswoman Tasneem Carrim, nothing else was believed to have been stolen from the presidential residence.

But the incident is highly embarrassing for the South African authorities strugging to contain high crime levels across the country.

At home

"He broke in through a window at the back, took some food and drink and basically made himself comfortable," Ms Carrim said.

"When the house manager confronted him he thought he was in his own home."

She said he had wandered through the house, but did not say for how long he had been there.

"There were photographs and some documents strewn about, but no breach of security as the president's bedroom and study were locked."

According to The Star newspaper the intruder had been living "like a king for a few days" before he was discovered along with empty brandy bottles and an unmade bed.

Ms Cassim said the man was known as having a history of mental illness.

The president's protection unit are now investigating the incident.

President Mbeki, spends most of his time at his residence in the capital, Pretoria.

This is the first break-in at the high security Genadendal presidential residence although there have been several incidents involving intruders in the grounds before.

Last year a man was jailed for five years for making a series of threatening phone calls to President Mbeki.

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See also:

28 May 99 | South Africa elections
South Africa's crime crisis
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