On Thursday at the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court, Gavin Joe was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for three years on condition that he would make a payment of R4 000 to breast milk bank Milk Matters, do 120 hours of community service and would undergo therapy sessions for two years.
In the plea agreement Joe admitted that he filmed Maggie Marx, without her knowledge, while she was expressing breast milk while at a training course at UCT’s Middle Campus in Rondebosch.
In his plea Joe admitted to rearranging the break room, where he knew Marx would be expressing, with the purpose of capturing her expressing breast milk on a hidden camera. Marx had locked herself in the break room to ensure her privacy.
“I took my cellphone and placed the phone in a cereal box. I further admit that I cut three holes in the cereal box and placed the phone, which I had connected to a power bank, in the cereal box. I admit that I then placed other condiments in front of the cereal box and positioned the only chair in the room in such a manner that the person sitting on the chair would be in full view of the camera. I admit I then programmed the phone to stream the recording to my PC.
“Ms Marx undressed her shirt and attached the breast pump to her breasts and was unaware that she was being recorded.”
He continued that Marx saw the holes in the cereal box at some stage and got up from the chair and found the phone and the power bank and established that the phone recorded her.
Marx said she was fortunate to have supportive colleagues on her breastfeeding journey.
“I am very open about it and not too weird about it and have no issues of expressing at work... I laid the charges because I am in such a privileged position to have supportive colleagues and I am able to freely express when I am at work. People need to start seeing it as normal.
“It’s the best thing you can give your baby and its free, Its just a win-win. As I saw how he grew and how we bonded it became really important for me and my son.”
She added that she was glad it was not recorded, as that could be shared widely.
UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola said they noted the outcome of the case and the staff member had since been dismissed.
“The dismissal followed a formal disciplinary process during which the matter was handled in accordance with UCT’s internal procedures. UCT has services available to offer the necessary support to the other staff member involved in this incident, and any other staff that may be affected by this incident.”