Thugs lock Capital offices

2019-07-17 15:00
The Capital City Housing offices on Peter Kerchhoff Street remained closed for the most of the day on Tuesday.

The Capital City Housing offices on Peter Kerchhoff Street remained closed for the most of the day on Tuesday. (Moeketsi Mamane)

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The Capital City Housing offices were forcibly closed for the second time in as many weeks on Tuesday — this time by members of a mystery local business forum.

A source said the group identified themselves as members of the “Westgate Grange Business Forum”, but The Witness was unable to make contact with any members. Attempts were made to ascertain if the forum has links with the Delango­kubona Business Forum, which has been taken to court and accused in the past of using “shady, mafia-style” tactics to obtain jobs or a part of business profits.

Thulani Myeza, secretary-general of the Delangokubona Business Forum, told The Witness that he was not aware of any of their members being at the Capital City Housing offices on Tuesday. He went on to say that there were many business forums in the province and that the people who had stormed the local business offices on Tuesday might not even be associated with them.

Two weeks ago Capital City Housing offices were shut down by uMkhonto weSizwe war veterans demanding jobs.

The company owns the flagship low-income Aloe Ridge housing complex where the war veterans, who have accused the government of reneging on its promise to build houses for them, hijacked 261 units last year.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese told The Witness that Tuesday’s alleged shutdown of the building was not reported to the police.

When The Witness arrived at the offices on Peter Kerchhoff Street at around noon yesterday, the glass doors and security gate were closed.

Two men, who appeared to be keeping guard from behind the locked tinted glass doors, told The Witness that the police were aware that the offices were closed. The men refused to answer further questions asked by The Witness and went on to insult the reporter.

A few staff members could be seen walking around in the building while some were loitering in the parking lot. It is not clear whether the employees were able to leave the building or not.

One employee told two women who were waiting outside the locked doors to come back on Wednesday. She said they were dealing with an internal issue and that the women should call first to find out if they were open before making the trip to their offices on Wednesday.

It is unknown how many members of the forum were inside the building or what their demands were.

Capital City’s general manager Rosanne Rampali, to whom The Witness was referred for comment and who promised to respond to a list of questions e-mailed by The Witness at 1 pm, still had not done so by late on Tuesday.

Two weeks ago, Capital City Housing employees called the police and reported that they were being held hostage by four MK war veterans who on that occasion had locked the gates and demanded to speak to the company’s CEO, Ivor Caldecott.

Caldecott told The Witness only that they had discussed “various opportunities” with the veterans and that they left after an hour.

The ward councillor in the Westgate and Grange area, Sibongile Mncwango, confirmed yesterday that there was a business forum in the area but could not confirm if they were the ones who were at the Capital City Housing offices on Tuesday.

Attempts to get hold of members of the Westgate Grange Business Forum were unsuccessful as their phones rang unanswered.

By 3 pm on Wednesday afternoon, the offices were open and operating again.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg
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