Tuesday, 29 November 2011


So yesterday I alluded to some excitement while attending a strat session…..

I attended a group H R strategic session which was interesting and intense all at the same time. We stayed at Gold Reef City which is a wonderful theme park and casino in Johannesburg.  It’s very far from where I stay and I must admit to feeling like I need a passport to get here but the room alone was worth the trip!!!!

We had some excitement during the first day’s session.  During our welcome coffee one of the hotels security guards was banging quite vicariously on the door of the suite (I think it is the high roller suite) but no one opened up. We then saw a Chinese women leave the suite through one of the smaller doors where no one seemed to notice her.  She stopped in front of where we were sitting and took out her cell phone.  The thought that went through my head when I looked at her was “well, someone made money last night”. Later, we broke up into small discussion groups and some of the groups went to sit outside the conference facility on the couches in the passages. I was sitting with one of the groups when housekeeping came running out of the room which the security guard had been banging on earlier.  The next thing there was all kinds of commotion going on.  The hotel staff were running backwards and forwards from the room and those leaving the room were pretty pale and looked kinda green and sick.

Obviously, H R people have a very curious nature so soon we cornered one of the housekeepers and pried the story from her.  They had found a body as in a DEAD BODY in the bath tub in the suite.  There was a lot of speculation throughout the day including that it had been suicide and there was several “odd” looking people hanging around.  We kept on seeing this Chinese guy being spoken to but he seemed so relaxed and showed no emotion so we dismissed him as having played any kind of role in the whole thing.  We started to suspect the Chinese lady we had seen earlier.

There was a story that security had been trying for three days to get into the room.  We dismissed the story out of hand because seriously….they have keycards!!!  The police arrived and they were trying to interview/interrogate the Chinese guy but to no avail.  The housekeepers told us that he had been sitting in the room working on his laptop while there was a dead guy in the bathroom……..really!!!  That just did not add up for us.  The police were also looking for the Chinese women we had seen earlier.  They had a description from housekeeping as to what she was wearing and so on, but they could not locate her.

We went downstairs for lunch and as we crossed the lobby some of us had a moment…..we were convinced we saw the Chinese lady.  She had different clothes on but her hair had the same clip in it.  We told security but they were unable to find her. For the rest of the afternoon there was plenty of action at the suite.  The police had obtained the services of a interpreter and were trying to extract information from the Chinese guy. He was on his cell phone and laptop as cool as a cucumber. We broke into our small groups again but this time stayed pretty much on our side.  We did watch the comings and goings though…talk about morbid curiosity.

When we were waiting for our room keys to arrive they removed the body.  Now, I can deal with just about anything you throw at me but I was really and truly upset by the way they treated the remains.  They did not put him in a body bag or on a gurney they just chucked a blanket over him and carried him out.  I am sorry but that was a human being, no matter the circumstances surrounding his death!!!!  Show some respect.

Needless to say the conversation over cocktails and dinner was about what we had observed during the course of the day.  Some of the ladies were a little afraid as their rooms were on the “death floor” as it was now dubbed.  Mine was also on the second floor but I was fortunate enough to be on the opposite side from the high rollers suite.  There was even some ladies who choose to share rooms because they were a little….shall we say safety consciences.  I was so happy to be in a beautiful room with a claw foot bath and a sitting room that I was not to phased.

The stunning bed!!

The claw foot bath which took an hour to fill with water....YUMMY

Cocktails after our ordeal!!!

Mind you having said that, what did bother me was the fact that no one from the hotel came to talk to us.  No one took the time to just say this was not like a crime spree or there is no serial killer on the loose.  No one to say that our safety is a priority and as such security has been beefed up and that we need not worry.  Instead 13 women were left to their own imaginations…..never a good thing.

The next morning we spoke to some of the catering staff and discovered that the police had been able to “crack” the Chinese guy we had seen hanging around all day. It seems that both men staying in the suite were Chinese and that they had checked in at 02:15 of the morning of our strat session.  It seems that they had gotten into an argument and that the cool calm guy we saw had killed what was his business partner.  Now we can speculate that the motive was about money, after all GRC is a casino or about the Chinese women we saw leaving the suite or it could have been about drugs or even rhino horns.  We can also speculate that Mr Cool Calm and Collected thought that if he sat there and pretended nothing was going on that he could feign innocence when the body was discovered. 

At the end of the day a life was taken for what will seem no good reason……is there ever a good reason to end a life. We do not give life and therefore in my opinion it is not ours to take……….not by suicide or by murder.  God is our creator and the decision as to when a life should end remains His.

We watched as housekeeping started cleaning the room and you could see that it was traumatic for them. It was sad when the deceased’s brother arrived and pain because of his loss was etched across his face.  I pray that GRC has arranged counseling for their staff especially those who discovered the body and those who had to deal with the subsequent issues.

 When I was a little girl my daddy taught me a portion of a poem by John Donne called “For whom the bell tolls”:

“Every man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind,
Therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee”

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