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â€œI canâ€™t believe people are allowed to steal as they please. The area is now very unsafe since the guards are no longer here.â€?
Kuban Chetty, the sheikhâ€™s lawyer in South Africa, said they were aware that the hotel was struggling with severe vandalism. The owner is in the process of hiring a new security company and guards will soon be back at their post to stop the theft.
Chetty said the hotel was closed in December due to problems such as employees who were stealing goods.
The sheikhâ€™s son has since taken over his business interests in South Africa.
Negotiations with a management agency, which had come up with suggestions on how to breathe new life into the hotel, are in an advanced phase, Chetty said.
Police spokesperson, Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg, said the hotel was private property and it was therefore the ownerâ€™s responsibility to appoint security personnel.
â€œThe police are patrolling the area. If people steal or own stolen goods, they will be arrested.â€?
Janse van Rensburg said police were investigating two cases of housebreaking.
Three suspects, Roger Buys (40), Wilmalize Pretorius (44), and a 16-year old, were arrested in connection with an incident in May and appeared in court.
â€œThe station commander of the Humewood police station and officials of the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality are monitoring the situation because it (the hotel) can be a refuge for homeless people.â€?