Fired man seeks revenge

2009-11-17 00:00

A DISGRUNTLED former employee threatened a secretary at Mbatha, Walters and Simpson Construction Cost Management company with a knife yesterday morning.

According to an eyewitness who wishes to remain anonymous, the man came into the reception with the intention of meeting the company regional director, Paul Osborne. A receptionist only identified as Mrs Maharaj told the man that Osborne was not available.

He left, but came back later, driving his vehicle through the boom gate. In the reception area he allegedly pulled out a knife and threatened to stab Maharaj.

Police were called and worked hard to calm the situation.

“The next thing I saw were police who, after being informed about the state of the knife-wielding man, drew their firearms. It was then that the man came out and the police tried to reason with him, and after a few minutes he threw the knife to the ground and the police handcuffed his hands in the front,” said the witness.

She said the man went wild when he saw another man who she thinks is a senior official at the company. “He went ballistic trying to attack the man as his hands were in the front, but the police managed to contain the situation.”

Having calmed him down, the police handcuffed the man’s hands behind his back and he was taken away in a police vehicle.

Police confirmed the incident, stating that the man was previously employed by the company and had recently been dismissed. A case of common assault has been opened.

The Witness has learnt there was a dispute over the man’s dismissal.

It has also been established that the police received a call from a Dr Stewart Lund, who told them that the man was his patient.

The man is said to be suffering from a mental disorder.

After the call, arrangements were made for his transfer to Northdale Hospital’s psychiatric ward. Lund refused to confirm or deny that the man is his patient, citing doctor-patient confidentiality.

Osborne also refused to comment, referring The Witness to the company’s Durban office.

Although employment figures for KwaZulu-Natal remained stable during the third quarter of 2009, KZN has been one of the hardest hit provinces when it comes to retrenchments and job cuts during 2009, leading to thousands of disconsolate workseekers.

KZN shed 57 000 jobs in the second quarter of 2009, after losing 117 000 during the first quarter, in sectors such as manufacturing, trade and private households. The province’s official unemployment rate was 18,7% at the end of September 2009.

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