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No justice for domestic worker mauled by employer’s nine dogs

Scars on Silidile Ntshangase’s body and face are a reminder of the horrific attack she suffered from her employer’s nine vicious dogs. Picture: Supplied.

Scars on Silidile Ntshangase’s body and face are a reminder of the horrific attack she suffered from her employer’s nine vicious dogs. Picture: Supplied.

Published Apr 22, 2021

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Johannesburg - It’s almost three years since Silindile Ntshangase, 36, was attacked by nine dogs at her workplace. Yet no one has been held accountable.

The Sedibeng resident went through the horrific ordeal at her employer’s farm in Delmas in May 2018, where she worked as a domestic worker.

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The incident landed Ntshangase in the Far East Rand Hospital where she stayed for three months. Scars on her body and face remain visible.

“My health has not been in a good condition after that incident. Some parts of my body are still in pain and I am not able to work for a longer period.”

Ntshangase said the dogs pounced at her after she came out of the bathroom at her employer’s house. She said she tried hiding under a trailer but the dogs attacked her leg.

“The dogs were too aggressive and I couldn’t fight them off. I was overpowered. I tried to scream for help but when my employer came out, the damage was already done.”

Ntshangase said the dogs included a German Shepherd, pitbulls and other breeds. She claims her employer was unapologetic about the incident and even refused to help her call an ambulance.

She said the dogs attacked her a few days after she had requested a salary increase.

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“I was working five days a week and earning R1 600. My employer and I had a dispute about this and a few days later the dogs were mysteriously let loose.”

Following the horrific incident and a lengthy hospital stay, her employer, Martin Rensburg, distanced himself from her. To date, she is struggling to find a stable job due to her injuries.

Department of Employment and Labour acting spokesperson Musa Zondi said the designated labour unions should be the first line of defence for disgruntled workers.

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Police in Delmas are said to have given Ntshangase the runaround when she finally reached out for assistance.

Ntshangase alleges that a white male detective at Delmas police tried to interfere with investigations.

“He called me to visit the farm with him but I refused and said I was not comfortable with a white detective,” she said.

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A witness known to The Star accompanied Ntshangase to the farm along with the white detective and another investigative officer.

“When we got to the farm the white detective got out of the car and spoke to the family in Afrikaans. The investigative officer and I had to remain in the car because the dogs were let loose,” the witness said.

“After that the white detective suddenly left without giving us an update. He got annoyed when we asked for feedback.”

Police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi confirmed that a case of failure to prevent animals from causing injury to another person has been opened.

Hlathi, however, dismissed claims that the white detective shielded the suspect.

“The officer was sent to the suspect to get a warning statement and the matter is still being investigated. Rumours that the case has been withdrawn and neglected are not true.”

Hlathi emphasised that the matter was only reported last Friday and that it occurred in 2018.

“We still need to obtain medical records from the hospital for our investigations. We do not want to leave any stone unturned,” he said.

Efforts to contact Rensburg were unsuccessful.

The Star

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