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Inspection tour held up as elevator breaks down - with minister inside

By unknown | Oct 10, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

There were chaotic scenes at the Durban Station yesterday morning when Minister of Transport, Jeff Radebe was stuck in a lift for disabled people for about 20 minutes.

Radebe was at the station to officially launch the SAPS Railway Police Contact Point.

He was being taken on a tour to check that everything was in working order when the lift let everything else down.

The R4million facility includes the offending lift, holding cells and offices. The cells will be used by police to hold detainees caught vandalising or damaging property or committing other crimes in the station or on trains.

Radebe boarded the lift from the ground floor to the first floor when it failed to open.

Police personnel and bodyguards had to break a window to rescue him.

A stony-faced Radebe, a bodyguard and an SAPS official spent about 20 minutes stuck in the lift.

Police at the scene first tried to use a knife to force the doors open and when they realised this would not work, brought some iron rods.

While they were trying to force the doors open, there was a power failure for a few seconds, causing panic among the people who witnessed the events.

Other bodyguards and senior Metrorail and transport department officials chased the media away as police battled to extricate the minister.

When contacted for comment, police spokesman Vish Naidoo said the problem was mechanical and could have happened to any one.

Three weeks ago a KwaZulu-Natal man, Prega Pillay, 37, plunged to his death when he had entered a lift which had not base at the province's Wild Coast Casino hotel and pleasure resort.


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