Company gives family R5 000 after loved one mauled to death by dogs

2017-10-24 10:29
(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Durban – A KwaZulu-Natal family has been left distraught after they were offered a mere R5 000 following the mauling to death of their loved one by two dogs at the equestrian estate where the 33-year-old man worked.

Khulekani Mthembu, a father of a 6-year-old boy, was badly mauled by two Rottweilers at the La Maine Equestrian Estate in Shakaskraal, north of Durban, on Heritage Day.

He would later succumb to his critical injuries in hospital, just three months after starting work at the estate.

On Monday his brother, Collin Mthembu, said the family had still not received communication from the estate's owners since his death.

"No, they have never called us to ask how the funeral went or how we were coping with the loss. After depositing the R5 000, that was the last time we heard from them."

Mthembu said the family received the money after the funeral.

Attack not the first

"We did receive the money but it only came after the funeral. They just gave it to us without any explanation but I think it was compensation because my brother died on the job, even though they never came out and stated that."

This was not the first time that the dogs had attacked a worker at the estate, Mthembu said.

"In 2015 they severely mauled a woman who worked at the farm and she was hospitalised for nine months."

Mthembu, who also worked on the farm, said he quit his job after his brother's death.

"I decided to quit my job because I couldn't carry on working where my brother lost his life. It became too much for me."

Mthembu said that he felt the owners of La Maine did not care about his brother's competence in handling dogs when they gave him the job.

"I feel the employers put my brother's life at risk because they hired him even though he didn't have a certificate to work with the dogs – like I did."

Allegations of racism

Confirming the incident, police said an inquest docket had been opened at Umhlali police station for investigation.

ANC Youth League (ANCYL) spokesperson in the area Musa Zondi said that the party was "shocked and enraged at the inhumane and barbaric treatment" of the family.

"No amount of excuses can explain the offering of a meagre R5 000 for a life of a human being lost forever. The ANCYL is convinced that the family of the deceased should be offered meaningful compensation."

Zondi speculated that the company's inaction following the death was driven by racism and said it was "barefaced callousness of a people who regard other people as sub-human".

"Is it coincidental that the owners of the dogs happen to be white while the deceased is of black origin?"

Zondi said that while most of the country was making advances in improving race relations "there remains a few enclaves wherein being black is a condemnation to poverty, harassment, denial of basic human rights".

"Of course, the benefactors of this refashioned racism will opportunistically accuse us of playing the race card; a lousy argument we shall not entertain given their insensitivity, historical apathy and class standing of those who place little value, if any at all, on the lives of blacks, workers and the poor."

Despite numerous attempts to obtain comment, La Maine did not respond. 

Read more on:    ancyl  |  durban  |  dog attacks

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