Man dies from holiday hotel stress

2013-01-08 22:25

Johannesburg - A driving licence examiner died of a heart attack over the festive season when he arrived in Cape Town and found his hotel had been double-booked, eNews Channel Africa reported on Tuesday.

Joe Mthembu, 46, and three friends, had paid the Notel International Hotel in Camps Bay a R19 000 deposit for accommodation for themselves and their families over New Year.

When they arrived at Cape Town International Airport from Johannesburg they learnt that their rooms had been double-booked.

Mthembu had a heart attack after trying for about eight hours to make alternative arrangements.

He died in hospital with his wife and his child at his bedside, his brother-in-law Makhosini Nkosi told the broadcaster.

Johannesburg metro police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said Mthembu, had worked as a driving licence examiner at the Langlaagte testing station for about nine years.

The hotel's director John Venter told eNCA the matter was his former accountant's fault.

"It basically boils down to that because it's not my responsibility to do bookings," he said in a telephone interview.

The former accountant said he had warned Venter months before about the problem.

Venter said the group's deposit would be refunded.

  • Tuyez - 2013-01-08 22:38

    Human deliberate error, resulting to tragic death.

      lownabester - 2013-01-08 23:04

      Yip, what a sad story, and because of money hungry evil people.

      walter.o.latham - 2013-01-09 05:23

      This is a case for Noseweek to get their teeth into. I wonder how many others have been caught like this? Some sarcastic comments about the R19000,00 deposit being paid by a driving licence examiner..... there were THREE families involved which amounts to just over R6000,00 per family. With the salaries they are getting nowadays, I don't see a problem. Leave racism out of this!

      walter.o.latham - 2013-01-09 07:54

      I was referring to certain insensitive comments made about the matter and not the article itself.... that's what I'm saying and not suggesting. Seeing that you have now brought politics into it, I'm certainly NOT an ANC supporter. What has politics got to do with this matter anyway? I feel very sorry for Joe Mthembu's family. Leave it at that!

  • ronald.stilianou - 2013-01-08 22:39

    Shame man, he was probably looking forward to his vacation and then this..... this hotel sucks. Condolences to the family.

      lj.roos - 2013-01-09 06:32

      Yep, strongs to the family, this really sucks, especially over the festive season :(

  • Michael Hawthorne - 2013-01-08 22:42

    People make errors all the time. You can't blame a heart attack on a double booking! There are many hotels in Cape Town and even more guesthouses. The media is making this mans death a debacle no respect. Trolled be he. Seems that people on the gravy train should take a breather and remeber their not above anyone else.

      Adeeb Saban - 2013-01-08 22:57

      Agreed, there are a myriad of other factors at play including lifestyle, dietary and medical factors. Very average journalism. Condolences to the family.

      koo.doyle - 2013-01-09 06:48

      "People on the gravy train???" to whom do you refer? So, medical professional that you are, its your assertion that the stress of finding himself minus accommodation, and spending eight hours trying to make another plan, could not have caused a heart attack? With all due respect, you don't know wtf you're talking about.

      rory.snyman - 2013-01-09 07:21

      Most reputable hotels would have assisted with finding new accommodation for clients. A definite lack of service added to the stress of travelling at the busiest time of the year, I can see something like this happening. People can be so callous!

      Michael Hawthorne - 2013-01-09 08:03

      You don't see the rest of the country keeling over because of these type of incidents happening everyday. Where does a license examiner get a R19000 deposit and afford a living? Bribes? This article is disrespectful to the deceased. He is not here to make such claims. My comment was not directed in racial way I could care less if it was a boer or capie.

      bmsibi - 2013-01-09 08:11

      If the deceased was white the comments would have been compassionate and considerate but since its a black man, it evokes no sympathy but rather it would seem the victim deserved it as the white community thinks that he may have acquired the funds through corrupt activities, yet they see nothing wrong when a white greedy hotel director is willing to make double bookings which is just as corrupt. I wonder when shall we drop the difference between black & white and see each other as normal human beings having right to be who we are. The fact is we all did not choose to be either black or white, it happened to us but we can choose to live together in peace no matter what the colour of our skin is or who our ancestors were. There is no point in fueling and paddling racism when at the same time we are ready to bring up offspring who will have to continue the feud and senseless hate until they consume one another. IT IS NOT RIGHT TO STEAL NO MATTER WHO THE VICTIM OR THE PERPETRATOR IS. The man had underlying cardio vascular ailments before this incident, but the hotel's unethical and lamentable procedures induced the onset of cardiac arrest -therefore they are responsible of causing the death of this guy and should take full responsibility for it, just as we all are susceptible to death but who ever cause it or induces the onset must then face the consequences of his/her actions. I AM A BLACK MAN WHO DOES NOT CARE ABOUT THE OF THE SKIN FOR WE ARE ALL HUMAN AND HAVE THE RIGHT BE.

  • zander.venter.14 - 2013-01-08 22:44

    Such a petty thing to die for, even though he had a pre-existing condition, my heart goes out to his family and friends.

      lionel.defrontignac - 2013-01-09 05:24

      No pun intended?

  • marcanthonytaylor - 2013-01-08 22:44

    Mr Venter, good God but you have delusions of grandeur. You defend yourself as if taking bookings is beneath you. Luckily any manager regardless of stature is responsible for the running of a buisness that he is in charge of. It IS YOUR JOB to ensure that your staff are doing their job correctly. First rule of management (by the way) is: EVERYTHING IS YOUR FAULT!

      zander.venter.14 - 2013-01-09 01:11

      I wont be lying if i thought that you were speaking to me for the first sentence, xD

  • sally.lewitt - 2013-01-08 22:45

    Shame! He probably had an unknown prexisting heart condition or high blood pressure and this bad event triggered his sudden death.. But a hotel deposit of R19,000 I'd probably also have a heart attack..

      Mzwabantu Mgwebile - 2013-01-08 23:10

      Dear Venter, U have failed yo employer. Status don't resolve double bookings. You have abdicated your Managerial/Director's critical responsibility. My condolences to the Family.

      trudy.riet - 2013-01-09 07:38

      Its possible that someone can go to another city and not know anyone there, so if you paid R19K deposit, and there you are, no where to go, not sure where to sleep, who knows if he even had enough money to pay for another hotel, then the double booking is definately a contributing factor, don't think he would have had a heart attack if he booked into he's accommodation without a problem

  • rian.loubser - 2013-01-08 22:57

    What a nonsense story. Do whatever you do with precision and you will not get into a situation like double bookings. To blame the hotel - laughable.

      delish7564 - 2013-01-08 23:23

      Most hotels work on a certain level of double avoids empty rooms when people cancel or don't turn up but it can and does backfire, as in this case. Very sad!

      koo.doyle - 2013-01-09 08:01

      Well done for lowering the bar on utter idiocy. I'd like to see you book a hotel, pay the deposit, arrive to find they've double booked, and then be told its YOUR fault.

  • bridgette.elk.7 - 2013-01-08 23:03

    Gee, could the people from the hotel be any more insensitive ?? First finger-pointing and shifting the blame and then just paying back the deposit as if that's going to solve the problem !? What about a heart-felt apology and condolences to the family who've been affected by this incident ?

  • garth.philpot - 2013-01-08 23:04

    how does a driving examiner afford a R19k(deposit) hotel stay... sounds fishy to me... Sounds like this might have been a gravy train ride.

      EugeneGeneralMorokolo - 2013-01-08 23:25

      if you where not too stupid you would have figured out that it was a group in simple english he made a contribution with other time before jumping to stupid conclussions read the same story 10 times....

  • fdalana - 2013-01-08 23:05

    this is very sad.

  • craig.roberts.96995 - 2013-01-08 23:14

    My question is how can a driving licence examiner afford to stay at a Camps Bay hotel.

      EugeneGeneralMorokolo - 2013-01-08 23:22

      what if they have saved over the years? dont even know how many people contributed and yet you go public with your stupidity...grow up and stop making everyone a suspect...

      Sylvester.Mohloli - 2013-01-08 23:25

      I gather 'saving' is non existent in your vocab hey Craig? #RIP Mr. Mthembu

      pushocapture.maake - 2013-01-08 23:31

      What does his wife do for a living since you knew the man very well Mr Mini God.

      collins.ntelele - 2013-01-09 00:40

      You're biggest moron I ve ever come across in my lifetime.

      faith.leburu - 2013-01-09 01:00

      Uhmmmm people save for years for such hoidays& I can onlyy imagine the stress he had coz CT accomodation is extremely expensive in high season. Hotels do double bookings just incase people cancel but this time aaround like most times, it backfired! It surely contributed signficantly to the heart attack...

      yanga.maroloma - 2013-01-09 02:29

      @craig, You learned that his name was 'Mthembu', soo your mind automaticaly assumes that he must have been poor. Its no suprise that you ask such naïve question, typical boereninja!

  • bradleybrits - 2013-01-08 23:19

    Gee very poorly written article.. I mean this hotel booking thing didn't suddenly cause his heart attack.. I lifetime of obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, uncontrolled blood pressure/diabetes, high cholesterol etc would've given him atheroma in his coronaries.. the stress possibly could've stressed a very weak heart and started the pain and coronary event but that atheroma would've been accumulating for years.. Just don't think its misleading the way its written. Condolences to his family.. Think its a poor showing and unprofessional from this hotel.

  • Tshifhiwa Bmc Simali - 2013-01-08 23:28

    this headline is somehow a bit funny

  • augusto.lugoboni - 2013-01-08 23:29

    The issue here is not where the 19K came from, but rather how the hotel handled the situation by passing the blame onto someone who was not there at the time. Whatever happened to accountability and just good customer service in general?

  • Ntutu Dlova - 2013-01-08 23:29

    Some people who were not born with gold spoons in their mouths ,know how to budget, put money away from jan- dec as a group can pay that deposit. I can understand why that seems to be a mystery to some of you. Condolences to the family

  • patricia.jali - 2013-01-09 00:12

    John Venter should take responsibility for the bungle. As the director of the hotel the buck stops with him. He cannot shift the blame to his subordimnates.Otherwise what is called director for?

  • ceba.mlandu - 2013-01-09 00:16

    If this was America the family could sue and win

  • wendylg - 2013-01-09 02:52

    The issue IS one of total pathetic Hotel Management. Shame on anyone commenting on HOW it was afforded! Who cares it WAS a grouo of people! This child lost a dad his wifes a widow. 19k paid, High season, no other accomodation... Enough to give anyone a heart attack. MHDSRIP

  • madmountainza - 2013-01-09 03:30

    Are you serious, listen to this rubbish, we seriously need a wake-up call on customer service and professionalism in this country. The hotel director blames the accountant and says "it because it's not my responsibility to do bookings". You're the director, if your staff mess up, you accept responsibility for their actions and take steps to amend it, and that doesn't just mean refund them their deposit. Why did that family have to stress and wait for 8 hours - if you double-book a room and someone's already paid you, then you upgrade the person to a better room, even the frickin penthouse suite if you have to. Failing this, you book them into another hotel whilst you try to find a suitable solution. We're so used to getting stuffed around in this country that we're complacent about it and put up with carp service like this all the time, and people know that we won't do anything about it, so they continue to do business with this "couldn't care a less attitude". The absolute least this family should do, is sue the hotel for funeral expenses, travel expenses and the cost of their time for the 8 hours waiting period (at hotel prices). It's the least the hotel should do and they could probably sue them for damages as a result of the unnecessary stress caused.

      madmountainza - 2013-01-09 05:19

      My sincere thanks to the Notel International Manager who gave my posting the thumbs down - we respect your opinion. Besides, the feeling's mutual, when my friends, family or colleagues mention that they're thinking of booking into Notel, I'll be giving you the thumbs-down as well. Have a nice day.

      squeegee.pilot - 2013-01-09 06:58

      Madmountain, you make too much sense for some to handle... Lots of trolls here who just want to rant. Many don't even read the article. No one has quoted the accountant who said: "The former accountant said he had warned Venter months before about the problem."

  • sudika.harkhu - 2013-01-09 04:22

    I was in a foreign place once where the tour agent made a few bungles with our booking and we had paid for everything. It was very stressful/upsetting. With much effort we got the money from the agent back and booked with someone else (who also bungled). In this case, we don't know how willing the hotel was to refund him his money and imagine trying to get accommodation in CT over the holiday period. Would take some doing. And to people judging him as being on the gravy train etc, it was a boooking for FOUR people, not one. And we dont know for how long and with what other services etc.

  • lionel.defrontignac - 2013-01-09 05:27

    At 46 to die of cardiac infarction is a waste of life - we, as South Africans lead very unhealthy lifestyles. Poor guy; your 40's and 50's are supposed to be the best years of your life.

  • sabelo.l.mthembu - 2013-01-09 05:48

    The paradigm of some of you South African is so sad. When the focus shifts from the loss of a human life to how someone (well rather a group of people) can afford a holiday reservation deposit that is just sad. You can't have a valid comment on something you know nothing about. The financial affairs of this man and his 'group' (be it family or friends) is unknown yet the shifts still leans towards how they can afford it. SMH! Shame on you okes.

      louiseroger.higham - 2013-01-09 06:32

      Yes I agree with you

  • Zukie G Gilman - 2013-01-09 05:50

    y questioning his affordability cant u read tht it was four families probably abt R6300 per family which is not bad @ ol he has a wife who might have covered traveling costs...u heartless ppl...May God bless u&yo families if sum1 dies&u start asking stupid questions what if it was yo Dad....u nid 2 grow up plz

      hilda.macarthur - 2013-01-09 06:12

      Or they could have used their bonuses, or they could have put it on a credit card. RIP sir. I'm so sorry that what should have been a fun time with family ended this way.

  • leka.mad - 2013-01-09 06:06

    Mr Venter, Mr Venter, what incompetence. Absolutely pathetic. It's your responsibility, as CEO, to ensure that the hotel has a proficient booking management system. What YOU did was overbook your hotel to ensure100% occupancy. When the party arrived at the hotel, having accepted a deposit, which was supposed to secure the accommodation, YOU should have taken it upon yourself to find alternative arrangements. But you blame it on the accountant. Is this how tourism for South Africans visiting destinations in South Africa works?? "I'm sorry, Mr Mthembu, there's nothing we can do. You should have arrived earlier". Incompetence, (shocking at CEO level, but then again, somehow, I'm not surprised). Condolences to the family.

  • louiseroger.higham - 2013-01-09 06:30

    Its the managers responsibility to find alternative accommodation if this happens, and he can't blame his accountant he is in charge. Hope the family take him to court.

  • Warren Wepener - 2013-01-09 06:41

    They should sue the hotel this is pathetic the man waited and went through a lot of trouble I would go full out and sue this hotel until there is nothing left

  • Franna16 - 2013-01-09 07:14

    I'm sorry but your health has to be pretty bad to get a heart attack at 46. The Hotel can't really be the cause. They just helped it along.

  • truthbetold221 - 2013-01-09 07:14

    Their deposit will be refunded...yeah right, like this is gonna bring Mthembu back or make him happy.As for the finger pointing thingy, proximate cause points to the owner. There's no way out of it, sir Venter.

  • Antoinette Morgan - 2013-01-09 07:24

    Something very wrong here. If they were informed months ago regarding the double booking, the deposit should have been refunded immediately. Additionaly the hotel should have offered to make alternative arrangements. Now the CEO shifts blame. RIP Mr Venter.

  • Antoinette Morgan - 2013-01-09 07:27

    Correction: RIP Mr Mathembu

  • leslie.rabie - 2013-01-09 07:51

    I am in the hospitality! since when is the Accountant responsible for a booking that's why you have a reservationist. What a chop... "It basically boils down to that because it's not my responsibility to do bookings," he said in a telephone interview. This is the boss of the year.. Its not me its him! There is much more to this story. Very fishy!

  • eon.engelbrecht - 2013-01-09 08:03

    Let's be realistic- it wasn't the double booking that killed him. It was simply the last straw.

  • don.mug.3 - 2013-01-09 08:06

    Racism is alive in SA RIP Mthembu.

  • hjvanrensburg - 2013-01-09 08:10

    TERRIBLE HOTEL MANAGER - SHOULD BE FIRED passing the blame to someone who has left company. As a hotel GM EVERYTHING is your problem and you should take responsibility for it Mr Venter!

  • jamey.webber - 2013-01-09 08:20

    Refunded after the man dies.... Low blow...

  • yandisa.oka - 2013-01-09 14:27

    This is indeed traumatic

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