Cop held for guard's shooting

2002-08-30 09:00

Pretoria - A policeman from Rosslyn has been arrested at the KwaDukuza Egoli Hotel in Johannesburg's city centre, where about 2 000 police are staying for the duration of the Earth Summit. He allegedly shot and killed a security guard on the 34th floor of the hotel.

Superintendent Chairmaine Muller of the summit police said he allegedly had been walking around on the ground floor wearing only a towel.

"The security guard was asked to accompany him to his room on the 34th floor. An argument apparently ensued between the two, a shot went off and the guard was fatally wounded."

Muller said the police were shocked about the incident and would take precautions to ensure that something like this did not happen again.

"We have 8 000 police deployed in Johannesburg, and it is unfortunate that one has broken the law."

The 30-year-old guard's name has not been released yet, as his next of kin have not yet been informed. The policeman is being held at the Johannesburg Central police station and is expected to appear in the magistrate's court on Monday.

Had problems with hot-water supply

Hotel management did not want to comment on the incident. Marion Whitehead, the hotel's head of marketing, told Beeld on Wednesday the hotel management had allowed police to keep their weapons with them, and not hand these in.

Muller confirmed that police had been allowed to keep their weapons with them, and said it would cause big logistical problems if all these had had to be handed in and guarded.

The KwaDukuza Egoli Hotel was in the news earlier this week after several police officials had complained about conditions there.

They allegedly often had problems with hot water and the water supply. They had to temporarily sleep six to a room at their arrival.

An angry policeman, who asked to remain anonymous, told Beeld on Thursday: "Since I arrived here last week, I have not had one hot bath. After a 12-hour shift, I have to boil the kettle a couple of times to take a bath.

He said also that two pairs of trousers were stolen when he had them washed at the hotel.

Whitehead said on Wednesday the hotel had had problems with the water supply. She said many police returned from their shifts at the same time, and this affected the water supply. She said the matter had been reported to the city council.