Boss denies ‘baboon’ slur

2011-05-25 00:00

A SECURITY guard working for Fidelity Guards, Nhlanhla Mbanjwa, has accused his former boss, Derrick Cross (56), of calling him a “baboon” during an incident at Parklane shopping centre on November 10, 2010.

Cross pleaded not guilty in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday to a charge of crimen injuria arising from the allegation.

His advocate, Shane Matthews, said Cross denies he ever called Mbanjwa a baboon.

He suggested to Mbanjwa during cross-examination that he’d lied about this because Cross had caught him using his cellphone while he was on duty guarding ATM machines that day, which was a contravention of company policy. Cross confiscated his phone and threatened him with disciplinary action.

Mbanjwa told magistrate C. Zungu that Cross did call him a baboon and that he had found the slur hurtful.

He alleged he had been using his cellphone to check the time when Cross arrived. Cross confiscated it, telling him that he “didn’t listen” and then called him a baboon.

Mbanjwa alleged that the insult was overheard by a friend and colleague working at the centre, Bethwell Zondi, who had tried to draw money from an ATM shortly before the incident.

He said he decided to report the matter to a shop steward after discussing it with Zondi, who came back to find out how he was.

“He was concerned about how it [the slur] had affected me … because I was hurt,” he said.

Mbanjwa said he had known Zondi since he started working at the centre in 2007/2008.

He admitted that when he was asked at a meeting soon after the alleged incident whether there were any witnesses to the alleged utterance, he had said there were not.

The case was postponed to September 6 for further evidence.

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