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Dairy fires 35 workers for stealing

AN EASTERN Cape businessman fed up with crime has fired more than 30 employees who allegedly stole from him.

Neil van Rensburg, owner of Sunningdale Dairy, dismissed 35 employees after hiring an East London private investigator.

Accompanying the dismissals are nine criminal cases where 23 staff members were arrested and charged with theft and possession of stolen property.

The owner disclosed that twelve other employees were dealt with internally in accordance to the labour laws.

Sunningdale Dairy - East London's biggest dairy company and the province's biggest after Clover, Parmalat and Crickley - makes milk, maas, cheese and yoghurt for established stores and has branches in Port Elizabeth, Kokstad and George.

Van Rensburg did not want to say how much money he had allegedly lost to thieving.

He said last year he was approached by the private investigator. "He had witnessed first-hand one of my trucks in town off-loading stock to a shop that we don't do business with."

Reports of packs of milk allegedly being sold in taxi ranks at half price also emerged.

"In the factory employees were searched and empty yoghurt containers were found in their bags," he alleged.

Further investigations led to Centane and Queenstown and allegations of false reports of delivery trucks being hijacked and stock stolen from them.

Allegedly drivers and their assistants were found to have been involved in the crime.

Eastern Cape police confirmed that cases ranging from theft and possession of stolen goods were opened.

Police spokesman Captain Stephen Marais said: "Cases including those of theft were opened with us."

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