[DEVELOPING] #SydneySiege 5 people escape with final numbers unreleased

South Africa woke up to a tense hostage situation that has gripped the Australian metropolis of Sydney since what's the afternoon on that side of the world.

At least 20 workers at a Lindt chocolate cafe have been held hostage - five having escaped in drips of first three, then two - out of the location that's near the Martins Place train station.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has called for calm and that all Australians adopt a 'business as usual' approach:

This is an unfolding situation and there will be operational updates provided by the New South Wales Police. I want to assure people that the ordinary business of government must go on and it will go on and that's why Treasurer (Joe) Hockey and Finance Minister (Mathias) Cormann will be releasing the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook as planned. This is a very disturbing incident - I can understand the concerns and anxieties of the Australian people at a time like this, but our thoughts and prayers must above all go out to the individuals who are caught up in this. I can think of almost nothing more distressing, more terrifying than to be caught up in such a situation and our hearts go out to those people.

Despite the Australian Prime Minister's calls for normality, it seems the situation isn't quite so on the ground.

On 702's John Robbie Show and Cape Talk's Breakfast with Kieno Kammies, caller Courtney related a contradictory situation to Udo Carelse. Courtney says she works near the hostage location, noting that she received an email from her work place warning her of the situation:

I'm about 6 minutes away from the Martin Place train station where the hostage situation is taking place. The city is in complete lock down, I'm on a level-40 building and the streets are completely deserted and even my building has come into lock down.

Construction workers at the iconic Sydney Opera House have also been evacuated, since a package had been found there.

The Sydney Opera House is a mere three-minute drive away from the Lindt Factory at Martin Place:

Watch the events as they unfold on 9 News Australia, here

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