The burglary at the offices of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng at the weekend should be viewed as the most brazen attack yet on the judiciary.
On Saturday, thieves broke into the Midrand offices of the chief justice where the human resources and facilities units are located.
They made off with 15 computers which contain sensitive information about 250 judges.
The incident, which sent shock waves throughout the country, has been condemned by political parties and citizens across the board.
A special police team has been tasked to investigate it.
The incident has rightfully raised questions about the strength of our government intelligence gathering.
Many have questioned how a key office of our judiciary could be targeted while our intelligence community remained oblivious.
The incident has also sparked speculation that the information stolen would be used to blackmail judges in a bid to influence the decisions they make on the bench.
It is common cause that our courts have increasingly become arbiters in political conflict and the most legitimate way to hold the executive to account.
Even more concerning therefore is a widely held belief that the crime was part of a politically motivated plot masterminded by powerful leaders for whom the judiciary is a stumbling block to their rogue exercise of power.
At this point, there is no evidence to substantiate this claim. Yet it remains damaging.
In fact, part of the discourse around this matter is scepticism by those who question whether the police will show commitment to bring the perpetrators to book.
If found to be untrue, this belief at best demonstrates a sizable part of the population has not only lost confidence in its leaders but believes they are likely to sink to dangerous levels to get their way.