Cape Town - A fish tank installer says he was held hostage at gunpoint by a homeowner after he accidentally cracked his new glass tank.
Jerry Lembalemba, 35, says he told the owner he could fix the problem, but the Parow man “went berserk” and threatened to shoot him and his colleague.
Lembalemba, who is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) but has been living in Ocean View for the past 16 years, says they were locked in the client’s home for two hours and were only released after his boss called police.
He says on Monday, they went to the house of Garth Krugen in Parow to install the 1.5m x 800mm x 700mm aquarium.
“I was busy putting the metal stand in and trying to level the stand and I pushed too hard, the glass hit the filtration tank and it cracked,” Lembalemba explains.
“I called my boss to notify him and to ask whether we should replace the tank or the glass. I then went to Garth and told him what happened. I said I could fix the crack and that was the mistake of my life,” he sighs.
He claims Krugen went “crazy”.
“He told us to take our tools and leave or he’s going to break it all. Then he took his house keys and locked the gate. We could not get out,” says Lembalemba.
“I told him I needed to get out to buy supplies, but he went crazy. He was swearing and screaming, and closing windows.
“I told him I was going to jump his fence as he was keeping us too long and he said, ‘show me you jump, it will give me a reason to shoot you’.
“He held us for over two hours. Had my boss not called the police, I don’t know how we would have gotten out.
“As soon as the police came, he changed. All of a sudden he acted like Mr Nice Guy. I still wanted to take his hand and let bygones be bygones, but he just said ‘f**** off’.”
Police spokesperson, Lieutenant-Colonel André Traut, says: “This office can confirm that an intimidation case is under investigation by Parow police. No one has been arrested as yet.”
The Daily Voice contacted Krugen, who confirmed Lembalemba came to install a tank but accused him of lying about the threats to shoot him.
“I don’t know about anything. They are lying,” he said, adding he was not in Cape Town at the moment.
“If he has opened a case against me with police, then why have I not been arrested?” he added.