In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.
Panicked employees fled the premier's office in Polokwane on Friday after being warned a parcel bomb was about to explode in the foyer of the five-storey building.
But the exercise was merely a drill. Shocked workers were not amused and some had to receive trauma counselling.
Employees and security guards tried to take cover after an announcement echoed through the building, warning occupants that a bomb was about to go off.
A large number of police arrived on the scene and members of the dog unit and the bomb squad mingled with firefighters and traffic officers at the chaotic intersection of Hans van Rensburg and Bodenstein streets outside the office. Then a deafening boom sent frightened onlookers scurrying.
"The whole thing was just an exercise for everyone to learn how to deal with life-threatening situations like these," said Polokwane police spokesman Superintendent Ronel Otto.
"We knew that this would get people's hearts pumping abnormally because these things rarely happen in life.
"Most people the world over only hear about them through the media and we thought doing what we did would be a worthwhile training exercise in case of a real bomb threat."
Mogale Nchabeleng, the premier's spokesman, described the situation as a "mock drill" to identify any weaknesses in employees' reactions.
"We were able to see how people react when told there is a life-threatening situation," he said.
Nchabeleng conceded that the exercise was so realistic employees had to receive counselling.