New England: Businessman, employees threatened and robbed at municipal dump

2013-03-01 00:00

A MAN who went to the municipal dump lost more than he bargained for when a group of aggressive men unloaded his vehicle and took not only his rubbish, but other valuable items too.

The businessman from Camperdown, Joe Duke-Norris of J.D. Master Builder, said he was at the dump on Tuesday, when about seven men swarmed onto his bakkie and removed metal racks for butchery stands worth R9 600 and some tools he had stored there.

He said he had covered the racks and tools with plastic and put his garden refuse on top.

“When I arrived at the site, they just jumped onto the back of my bakkie. I told them that I have my own people to help me but they did not listen,” he said. He was accompanied to the dump by two of his employees, Innocent Makhaye and Sthembiso Gwala.

Duke-Norris said after they had unloaded his garden refuse, they saw the metal racks and started grabbing them.

“I told them that I was not throwing them away, but they became aggressive and threatened to hit me with them [racks]. We pleaded with them not to take the racks, but they did not listen,” he said.

He said the dump was a dangerous place for people to go to if they had things that they weren’t disposing of on their vehicles.

Makhaye said that the people at the landfill site called others to come and help themselves.

“They were calling their friends, telling them we had good things in the car and they came from all directions. We were scared and pleaded with them not to take the tools,” said Makhaye.

Themba Khanyile (32), who has spent most of his life at the site, told The Witness that life was difficult at the dump. “We make a living out of refuse that is dumped here. We are here because we don’t want to be on the streets. We support our families with the little money we get here.”

A source at the dump told The Witness that members of the public were in danger when they went to the landfill site.

“They sometimes call the group for help when off loading the refuse without realising that they will be robbed. Some of these people are criminals because when police come here they run and hide.”

The source, who asked not to be named, said: “Sometimes people are robbed of their belongings while these people pretend to help them. Once you open your car doors, others see the opportunity to grab whatever they can take from the car.”

Municipal spokesperson Brian Zuma said they have incrased security at the site, but seldom received complaints about criminal activities. “There are people who organise themselves as co- operatives and take refuse for recycling. We won’t allow criminal activities on the site.”

He warned the public not to go to the dump with valuables as they could be exposed to danger.

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