PMB: Burglars struck again at the Northdale Siva Nyana Sabha in Chetty Road, making this the third break-in at the temple in just over a week. Sagren Phillips, Chairperson of the Ashram, expressed shock and disappointment at the continuous burglaries, especially since attempts were made to increase security after the break-in on April 29 when more than R50 000 worth of items was stolen. Phillips said the temple committee had the temple walls repaired and “closed all the gaps” when damage was caused after the first burglary.
“Last week one of our committee members offered to pay for an alarm system to be installed. It was set up and installed on Thursday,” said Phillips. However, there were two break-ins thereafter. Groceries for a prayer function were stolen from the temple on Friday night. On Saturday two Ganesha idols/statues, which were hired by the temple and valued at R8 000 each, were stolen. The temple is now responsible for replacing the idols.
Phillips said they contacted the security company to report the break-in but were told that they “haven’t been put on the system yet”.
“Somebody needs to take responsibility. Depending on their [the security company] response to this matter, we will take legal action,” Phillips said.
When asked about the follow-up made by police, Phillips said: “We had not heard from the police since the first incident and they didn’t even get finger prints yet.” Phillips also said they were told by the police not to make use of the premises, but could not wait any longer as the temple is a public area, frequently used by many people.
Police spokesperson Captain Gay Ebrahim was unreachable for comment and police detectives who were contacted were unable to comment. Phillips also believes a nearby school’s premises could be providing a hide-out for criminals. “The grass is very tall at this school. Thieves hold up people and commit robberies, and then run into the tall grass to hide.”
Department of Education spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said, “It is irresponsible for the school to not take care of its surroundings, especially regarding cleanliness. The school needs to take responsibility for that and cut the grass. However, this is not a direct link to the temple’s break-in as many schools have also been broken into and crime is rife in Pietermaritzburg,” said
Temple member Sherwin Pillay pleaded with people to contact him at 074 220 0411 if they have seen or heard anything concerning the break-in.
Sources: Facebook, Kavitha Pillay