WORKERS from the Emfuleni municipal offices at Vaalgate shopping centre in the Vaal were lucky to escape unhurt on Wednesday.
A man walked into their offices posing as a customer, then, to everybody’s surprise, he pulled out a gun and threatened to shoot them.
It is alleged the man accused the municipal manager of cheating with his wife.
“When he entered he went straight to the manager’s office, but the manager was not there,” said an employee who did not want to be named.
The employee said when the man realised the manager was not there he pulled out a pistol and screamed for people to call him.
“He fired shots into the roof and threatened to shoot anyone who moved. He said he would also shoot himself in front of everyone if we did not tell him where the manager was,” said an employee.
The man held them hostage for about three hours.
Vanderbijlpark police Sergeant Gertrude Makhale confirmed to Daily Sun that a hostage drama had indeed taken place. A police hostage negotiator was called to the scene.
“There were about 50 hostages – but after the negotiator spoke to him he released a lot of them. He kept two with him,” said Makhale.
After a while the 30-year-old suspect also released the remaining two hostages and surrendered his weapon.
The man was arrested and charged with malicious damage to property, intimidation and discharging a firearm.
“No one was injured and the man will appear in court soon,” said Makhale.
Emfuleni municipal spokesman Stanley Gaba confirmed the hostage drama but refused to comment further as doing so “might jeopardise the police investigation”.