Police arrest woman after McDonald’s hostage drama, employees finally freed after three-hour ordeal

A police vehicle at the hostage situation at the Berea McDonalds.

A disgruntled McDonald's employee has escalated a workplace dispute into a full-blown crisis by taking three senior staff members hostage at the Berea Road McDonald's location in Durban. Picture: Jehran Naidoo / IOL

Published Mar 5, 2024


KwaZulu-Natal police have arrested a McDonald’s employee who held at least three staffers hostage at Durban’s busy Berea Road eatery.

The three have since been freed after police had to use stun grenades to rescue the woman who were held at knifepoint by the aggrieved female employee.

KZN police spokesperson, Colonel Robert Netshiunda, said the woman was arrested and taken to hospital for medical observation. She is currently under police guard.

“It is alleged that an ex-employee arrived at the restaurant situated on King Dinuzulu Road in Berea and held the employees with a knife. All role players were summoned to the scene. Police had to use a stun grenade to rescue the victims,” Netshiunda said.

Police said a case of kidnapping was opened for investigation, while no arrests were made.

IOL earlier reported that the women who were held hostage at a McDonald’s in Durban’s busy Berea Road, had been freed. The women were in the office, situated on the top floor of the building when they were held hostage by an aggrieved female employee.

It is believed the suspect, armed with a knife, entered the office and demanded to speak to senior management.

Sources told IOL that the suspect, an assistant manager at another McDonald’s branch, was due to sit for a disciplinary hearing. It is unclear what the charges against her were.

Emergency services rushed to the scene just after 1:30pm and specialised police units were called in to diffuse the situation. The area was cordoned off as curious onlookers gathered along the sides of the busy roadway.

A source at the scene said he was sent a video, in which one of the victims inside the office asked to get help.

He said he immediately contacted 10111 but was unable to get assistance and eventually reached out to a private security company.

In the video clip, which has been seen by IOL, the suspect (who cannot be named or identified until she has appeared in court) is seen holding a large knife.

She is heard screaming at staff.

“I have nothing to lose,” the woman can be heard shouting.
Where is the media. I want the media! I want to speak to the CEO,” the woman was heard shouting.

On at least three occasions, the woman opened the top door and made the victims walk out onto the balcony.

Tactical response units arrive at the Berea McDonalds to diffuse a hostage situation. Picture: SeAnne Rall/IOL

ALS Paramedics spokesperson, Garrith Jamieson, said three woman had sustained minor injuries while the suspect was moderately injured.

“Paramedics treated the four on scene before taking them to the various hospitals for the further care that they required,” he said.