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‘I was racially abused and spat on’

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CAPE TIMES

Domestic worker Gloria Kente told the Cape Town Magistrates Court that she was racially abused by her employers boyfriend. Picture: Luc Gendron

Cape Town - “I hate k*****s, f*****g Mandela should die in hospital, you stole our land. You k*****s throw poo in the airport because you don’t pay tax. I hate you as an individual.”

Domestic worker Gloria Kente, a Khayelitsha mother of three, broke down and had to be consoled after she testified how these words were allegedly used by her employer’s boyfriend André van Deventer. He has been charged with common assault and crimen injuria.

 

Kente, 50, was being cross-examined by defence lawyer Henry Peter van der Westhuizen in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday. She told the court about the events leading up to the alleged assault and racist insult in July.

Kente has been a domestic worker for Mariechen Pienaar for nine years and had been staying with her at her home in Table View, the court heard.

Kente said she first met Pienaar’s boyfriend, Van Deventer, in 2007 and had taken care of their three children.

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Andre van Deventer File photo: Henk Kruger

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About the July incident, she told the court:

“I wanted to take a shower and I asked André to look after the younger child. While I was in the shower, I heard André shouting to Mariechen – “you are paying this k****r R2 400 for her to throw me with a baby.”

When she emerged Van Deventer stood at the door of Pienaar’s room, Kente said. “That’s when I asked if he was referring to me. He… grabbed me by my pyjamas and said he hated k*****s and he hated me as an individual. He then spat at my face.”

Asked by Van der Westhuizen if she had provoked Van Deventer, Kente said: “I never said anything to provoke him. The only time I spoke to him was when I asked if he was talking about me. I never said anything when the incident happened.”

 

She

went to her room and closed the door after Van Deventer allegedly swore at her and told her Mandela should die in hospital.

 

“I was scared and I cried. I did not speak to anyone. I only went to speak with Mariechen when I wanted tablets because I had a headache. I was scared and I was dizzy. I did not tell her because I did not feel it was important as she heard what was happening,” Kente said.

The incident, which was not the first, had caused her a lot of stress, she said.

Kente said Pienaar suggested she lodge a complaint against Van Deventer. “Why did you not open the case that day and opened it the following day?” asked Van der Westhuizen. Kente said: “I was scared to go out because André was still shouting in the sitting room.”

Van der Westhuizen told her both Pienaar and Van Deventer would testify that Pienaar tried to stop the shouting.

“She did not see what was happening. She was in her room. She did not do anything as the other days when André would call me a k****r. I never screamed at the accused.”

During the lunch break Kente started crying and was comforted by friends.

When the hearing resumed she testified about how the incident had affected her health. She said since she met Van Deventer she had suffered from high blood pressure.

 

The case was postponed to June 25.

 

Outside court, members of the SA Domestic Services and Allied Workers Union held a placard demonstration and chanted anti-racism slogans. “Racists must go away,” they shouted at Van Deventer.

 

siyavuya.mzantsi@inl.co.za

Cape Times


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