A bullet, a coffin and a R100m lawsuit

2014-04-20 06:00

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A petrol station owner is suing Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa for R100 million because, he claims, he’s the victim of “frightening” police incompetence and criminal cops.

Johann Roodt hasn’t visited his Khepe Motors petrol station in the Eastern Cape town of Flagstaff for the past three years because he’s too scared.

Even though he lives in Durban, he wears a bulletproof vest at all times.

Roodt says in papers filed before the South Gauteng High Court that he has, since 2009, been the victim of armed robbery, arson, theft, fraud, intimidation and death threats.

He claims a bullet was left for him at the petrol station and a coffin was recently delivered to the premises.

Both his regular customers and his staff have been threatened, he claims.

Roodt gives details of 17 emails to President Jacob Zuma, the office of the national police commissioner and various police generals – and his station manager says he even spoke to Zuma personally when calling the presidential hotline.

Station manager James Talbot says in an affidavit filed with Roodt’s lawyers that he called the hotline in desperation and ended up speaking to Zuma himself.

Zuma is known to occasionally speak to people who have lodged complaints with the hotline.

Talbot claims that Zuma referred him to Mthethwa and undertook to come back to him.

He says neither Mthethwa nor Zuma ever responded, nor did current police commissioner General Riah Phiyega’s office, despite promises to do so.

“I am finished. I cannot go on like this. The whole family is on stress muti,” says Roodt. “I have no other option but to go to court and fight them.”

Ironically, he’s being represented in court by senior advocate Kemp J Kemp – who has appeared for Zuma several times and successfully defended him during his rape trial in 2006.

“I have no doubt that the criminals want me dead,” says Roodt. “I have tried everything and it is clear that nobody cares.”

Roodt claims that he has in the past five years sold just 200 000 litres of fuel a month instead of the 800 000 litres a month he was selling before.

He says he has suffered direct losses of R67 million through “intimidation” and “sabotage”. Losses at the garage’s convenience shop make up the balance of his mammoth claim.

He has laid nine charges, ranging from fraud to armed robbery, at the Flagstaff police station since 2009.

He has also laid nine charges with the Port Shepstone police in KwaZulu-Natal and two in Matatiele in the Eastern Cape.

He says none of these charges were investigated and if they were, he did not receive any feedback.

He also claims that some dossiers have disappeared.

In their replying papers filed before court, the police have denied Roodt’s allegations.

Roodt is embroiled in a bitter battle with his landlord, businessman and lay preacher Stanley Godlwana.

He alleges in his papers that Godlwana and the police worked in cahoots to drive him from town.

Godlwana has denied any collusion with the police and rejected Roodt’s allegations against him.

He said he was in the process of terminating Roodt’s long-term lease of the filling station.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-General Solomon Makgale said that Roodt had reported five cases – against Godlwana, among others – to the Flagstaff police station.

Makgale said that in one of the cases, Roodt withdrew the charge and in another, a witness did not appear in court. The accused was acquitted in another.

Makgale said there was a case the state declined to prosecute, and that a 2012 armed robbery at Roodt’s filling station was still being investigated by the Hawks.

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