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Newcastle - About 200 police officers in Newcastle were locked out of their premises for allegedly not paying rent due since 2009, the Sunday Times reported.
“It's a lot of money involved,” landlord Anton van Kampen told the newspaper. He changed the locks of the premises on Monday.
Van Kampen said that by Friday, the Department of Public Works - responsible for the rent - committed to settle the bill within two weeks.
Department of Public Works spokesman Thamsanqa Mchunu said the outstanding money was related to an increase in rent and payment wanted for the use of additional space.
“The payment is for the escalation (of the rent)and the extra office space.”
Mnisi Zweli, spokesman for Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, said the ministry was “concerned” about the situation.
“For our officers to be effective in their crime reduction efforts, the working conditions and environment have to be conducive.”
The police have apparently been working out of car boots and have also not been able to access equipment like their riot gear before going to monitor protests. - Sapa