Pension dispute to blame for Durban ’hostage drama'
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Thursday afternoon's traffic in the Durban CBD ground to a halt after reports of a hostage situation circulated on social media.
Police and emergency units sprang into action after a man allegedly entered a building in Anton Lembede (Smith) Street armed with a gun and explosives strapped to his body.
According to a police spokesperson, Colonel Thembeka Mbele, the man was a retired member of security force at the Government Employees Pension Fund offices.
"He came to the offices and demanded to be paid his pension.
“He posed a threat to the pension manager," Mbele said.
She said the man's firearm was visible but he had not drawn it.
"Only verbal threats were made while firearm was on his body visible. The situation was diffused by Task Force and hostage negotiators," she said.
Mbele said the man was taken into police custody where he will be interviewed.
The GEPF said they were aware of the incident.
"We have been informed that an aggrieved GEPF client held official of the Government Pension Administration
Agency (GPAA) hostage at the office. The GEPF has been informed that there was no fatalities or harm to anyone," spokesperson, Matau Molapo, said.
Molapo said the aggrieved member has been detained police remains in SAPS custody.
"The GEPF is appreciative of the efforts of the police, office security personnel and employees in dealing with the incident. The necessary counselling will be provided to the affected officials," Molapo said.
Molapo added that the GEPF remains committed to engaging with its members with respect to any concerns they have.
Emer-G-Med spokesperson Kyle van Reenen commended the SAPS on their swift response to the situation.