Spur independent panel to meet in October

2017-07-04 16:20
The incident at Spur which prompted the formation of the independent panel. (Screengrab, via Twitter)

The incident at Spur which prompted the formation of the independent panel. (Screengrab, via Twitter)

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Johannesburg – An independent panel will in October conduct hearings into a heated altercation at a Johannesburg Spur, its convenor said on Tuesday.

"The panel’s findings will be reported to Spur and the public, on action that should be taken to rectify the possible shortcomings in its response," said Professor Elmien du Plessis in a statement on behalf of the panel.

The panel has been convened in the wake of widespread outrage after video footage appeared all over social media on March 21 of a near-brawl between a man and another parent, Lebohang Mabuya, following an apparent scuffle between children in the play area of the Texamo Spur branch in Oakdene in Johannesburg.

ALSO READ: Spur bosses to go on countrywide tour to address boycott

On Tuesday, Du Plessis – a professor at North West University – said that the investigation would be "balanced", "in-depth" and would look at "all relevant aspects" of the incident in question.

It was hoped that the panel’s final recommendations would improve reactions to future possible incidents, she said.

Although the panel was initially due to convene in June and issue its report in July, this timeframe was postponed in order to allow franchisees to make direct submissions.

"The engagement of Spur Corporation and franchisees will also enable Spur itself to make a more detailed submission to the panel for consideration," said Du Plessis.

Nationwide tour to gain 'greater understanding'

A press statement issued by the Spur Corporation last month was "ambiguously worded", she said, but the panel had now met with the company to "clarify" some of these "ambiguities".

"The panel is independent and does not operate as part of Spur Corporation, and is not controlled by Spur Corporation," said Du Plessis.

Subject to availability, those on the panel would include Unisa professor Kopano Ratele, business consultant Dr Wynoma Michaels, ex-journalist Cobus Bester, as well as a representative from Sonke Gender Justice.

Interested parties are able to make submissions online.

Late last month, Spur Corporation CEO Pierre van Tonder issued a statement saying it had decided to "put the panel’s work on hold for the time being".

It said executive management would be embarking on a nationwide tour to gain "a greater understanding of customers and franchisees".

At the time it apologised to "any person or community who has taken exception to our actions and will ensure a fair hearing is conducted prior to judgements being made in future".

Conflict management training

It also said franchisees would receive conflict management training and additional staff would be employed at busy times in the play areas.

"Spur does not want to engage in political debates," said Van Tonder.

Previously, the franchise announced that it would not allow the man involved in the incident into any of their restaurants nationally – saying it did not condone any form of violence against women or children, irrespective of the circumstances.

This prompted an outcry from certain members of the public who called for a boycott of the chain, apparently by white people.

Lobby group Afriforum said at the time the handling of the matter had been "one-sided".

Last week it emerged that the man banned from all Spur outlets nationwide following the angry exchange, in fact, had had five criminal cases against him between 2005 and 2011.

RELATED: Banned Spur man has string of arrests for assault

These included charges of assault, contravening the domestic violence act and malicious damage to property.

According to North West police spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone, four of the cases against the man were later withdrawn and he was found not guilty on one charge of common assault.

WATCH: Spur releases CCTV footage of altercation

Read more on:    spur  |  johannesburg  |  racism

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