Tourist dies after booking fiasco at hotel

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Joe Mthembu done.JPG CAPE ARGUS A still image from the eNCA broadcast shows Joe Mthembu.

Cape Town - A Joburg tourist died of a “massive” heart attack eight hours after arriving in the Mother City – allegedly brought on by the stress he endured after finding out that the hotel he had reserved was double-booked.

The family of driving licence examiner Joe Mthembu is devastated by his death.

His childhood friend, Trevor Mosweu, of Soweto, told the Cape Argus on Wednesday that this was their first time in Cape Town.

“We started saving for the trip in January (last year), and we paid a R19 000 deposit for accommodation at the Notel hotel in Camps Bay, for ourselves and families. We have been looking forward to the trip for so long. This has tainted my view of Cape Town,” he said.

Mosweu explained that, when Mthembu and family arrived at Cape Town International Airport on December 29, just after 2pm, they phoned the hotel to check in and to ask for directions. They were told that the two guest houses they had reserved were double-booked.

Mosweu arrived on a later flight, two hours after Mthembu. “He started getting worried – we just didn’t expect this to happen.”

The hotel’s director, John Venter, confirmed the booking, and that the group paid their deposit in August.

He told the Cape Argus that the incident was “embarrassing” and shouldn’t have happened.

“We are doing our best to rectify the matter, and to ensure it doesn’t happen again,” he said.

Venter explained that, until Wednesday, their bookings were handled by an outsourced company. “We have since agreed to part ways. From now on, all bookings and payments will be done internally,” he said.

He said Mthembu and family would be refunded in full.

Mthembu had worked as a driving licence examiner at the Langlaagte testing station for the last nine years, said Joburg metro police spokesman Wayne Minnaar.

Mosweu said the group of about 14 spent about eight hours trying to arrange alternative accommodation.

“We were all worried… we had nowhere to sleep for the next three days,” he said.

Mosweu said they tried calling anything from bed and breakfasts to hotels, looking for accommodation.

“Mthembu started feeling pain in his chest when we were driving to a hotel in Somerset West.

He stopped the car, got out and fell to the ground,” he said.

He later died in hospital.

His brother-in-law Makhosini Nkosi, said the family is “bleeding from all angles” and “devastated” by Mthembu's death.

“He was a breadwinner at home.

“He was paying for his mother's medical costs and his sister’s school fees.

It's a big loss to us,” he said.

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Cape Argus


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