Johannesburg - A lesbian who was attacked, apparently because of her sexual orientation, is now facing charges of assault – laid by the very security guards she claims beat her to the point of unconsciousness in Carlton Centre two weeks ago.
Bonisiwe Mtshali, 29, who works at the mall in the Joburg CBD, was allegedly pushed to the ground and beaten by three men from Hlanganani Protection Services, the security company contracted by Carlton Centre.
Her crime? Kissing her girlfriend goodbye before work.
She is still undergoing treatment and suffers from severe headaches and chest pains. The security guards have not been suspended or relocated, according to their lawyer, Zhonani Matshidza.
Mtshali opened a case of assault against the guards, despite the police’s alleged reluctance to do so.
“The police advised us to drop the charges,” said Mtshali’s girlfriend, Khanyisa Ndoda. “They said it wasn’t a big case and would be expensive.”
The girls stood fast and their alleged assailants appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday.
But then Mtshali, too, took her place in the dock: one of the security guards involved in the incident had laid a counter-claim of assault against her after she allegedly scratched his face while defending herself.
Yesterday, the couple were again discouraged from pursuing a conviction.
“The magistrate seemed to think it was a domestic violence case and wanted it resolved through mediation, out of court,” said Mtshali’s lawyer, Mpho Nesuri.
Both cases were postponed.
The case against Mtshali will go to trial next month, while the security guards will appear in court again next week. - The Star