Cashier assaulted at local store

2019-10-10 06:01
Pregnant Xhalabile was assaulted by a customer at Shoprite, Broadway Mall. PHOTO: Velani Ludidi

Pregnant Xhalabile was assaulted by a customer at Shoprite, Broadway Mall. PHOTO: Velani Ludidi

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Heavily pregnant Zimkhitha Xhalabile from New Village in Nomzamo was assaulted by a customer at work last month.

The cashier at Shoprite in Broadway Mall, who is eight months pregnant, had just closed her till when a customer demanded being assisted on Monday 9 September. “The ‘closed’ sign was up and he removed it, saying because I had not yet left the till point I had to assist him.”

At first Xhalabile argued with the customer, telling him to use the other available till, but he was so insistent that she assisted him. “As I scanned his items we continued exchanging sharp words about my being paid to do my job and respecting his needs as a customer.” He then became violent, she said. Footage with City Vision shows a male customer arguing with a cashier, identified as Xhalabile, and making hand gestures before throwing a fist at her.

A security guard who witnessed the incident stepped in after the assault took place, and a manager arrived to remove the customer.

“I had to call my husband, requesting he take me to hospital, and then to the police station to open a case,” Xhalabile said. “Shoprite cares only about making a profit, and did not apprehend the man who assaulted me. He was escorted out by the security.”

Wiseman Manjangaza, Xhalabile’s husband, said he arrived to find his wife in tears and red-faced. “She was bruised, and I demanded to know why she had not been taken to hospital. On arrival at the hospital we were told the baby was not moving, and it started moving only after four hours.”

Xhalabile was given four days off, and told to come back to work.

“I received counselling once and was told to face my demons and move past the situation. I was denied time off as I will be going on maternity leave soon.” She said she feared bumping into the man who assaulted her, fearing another attack.

Shoprite did not respond to questions concerning Xhalabile’s assault, why she was not granted time off and if she is to be compensated for the assault, which took place while on duty.

Nor has the retailer indicated if it has a policy in place to protect workers from such attack. The store, however, stated it strongly disapproved of the customer’s behaviour, self-evident in the video, and has banned the customer from its premises. “It is unfortunate that an unhappy customer attacked one of our employees physically after closing her till, although she continued assisting him in concluding his transaction at the till point. Security and management on duty, along with customers who witnessed the incident, intervened and aided the staff member, whose husband transported her to hospital for a thorough examination when the ambulance service could not immediately assist.”

The retailer said Xhalabile was asked to return to work on recommendation from the counsellor who treated her for trauma. “She was off duty for just over a week after the incident to assist her in dealing with the trauma. In this time she received counselling arranged by the company. She was scheduled to return based on the counsellor’s recommendation.”

Police spokesperson Captain Frederick van Wyk said: “The office confirms the case of common assault opened. The incident took place at a shop in a shopping mall in Lwandle, where the complainant was physically assaulted by a customer after an argument. The suspect has not yet been arrested, however the investigation continues.”


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