Natalia Building bomb scare

2010-01-26 00:00

A BOMB scare had the fire department and the police bomb disposal unit evacuating the occupants of Natalia Building yesterday morning.

The building is occupied by government departments, mainly the Health Department.

Employees from Natalia Building were everywhere in Langalibalele and Archbell streets, waiting to be informed as to whether there was a bomb.

An employee who asked not to be named insisted that the bomb scare was “for real”.

“The police have cordoned off access to Longmarket from Boshoff and Archbell. To go to such extremes can only mean that the situation is for real. I only hope that they find the bomb, if there is one, because it will be difficult for everything to get back to normal,” said the employee.

She said she was concerned because the building is no stranger to controversy, citing the recent attempt by a municipal employee to jump from the top. The employee had problems with his salary and climbed to the top of the building, threatening to jump off. Msunduzi Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo managed to talk some sense into the suicidal man.

Police spokeswoman Director Phindile Radebe confirmed the bomb scare. She said that an anonymous caller had phoned 10111 and told the operator that he was going to blow up Natalia Building.

Radebe said the threat had been taken seriously and that no stone would be left unturned in dealing with the hoax caller.

“The bomb disposal squad was called in and the fire department. Police and traffic officers had to assist in getting everybody out of the building, cordoning off the access points to both the streets and redirecting traffic to alternate routes,” said Radebe.

The building was combed from corner to corner, but nothing was found.

Radebe said the matter will be investigated and the number traced, with the aim of arresting the caller.

Health Department spokesman Desmond Motha said Health Department employees had stopped working for more than two hours yesterday.

He said they had to evacuate the building after receiving instructions from the fire department.

He said that yesterday afternoon employees were back at work and that things had gone back to normal.

“We trust those who dealt with the bomb search because they are professionals, so we have no reason to be agitated. Everything is back to normal and no bomb was found,” said Motha.

At this stage, it is not clear as to whether the bomb scare is the work of a disgruntled employee.

 

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