Legal action will traumatise my child

2017-03-26 06:00
Screengrab of a video where a man threatens to physically assault a woman. Picture: Facbook

Screengrab of a video where a man threatens to physically assault a woman. Picture: Facbook

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Nico Viljoen should thank his lucky stars after the woman he allegedly verbally assaulted at Spur at The Glen Shopping Centre last Sunday rejected offers from law firms to take legal action against him on her behalf. 

The incident, which sparked a public outcry, has emotionally drained Lebohang Mabuya. 

She told City Press that lawyers wanted to help her pursue charges against Viljoen, but she felt exhausted and didn’t wish to subject her child to more trauma in the form of a court procedure. 

Mabuya said she wasn’t planning to take legal action against Viljoen. 

City Press has also established that Viljoen may have assaulted Mabuya over a “fight” between their children, which seemingly never even took place. 

CCTV footage from the play area at Spur at The Glen, which City Press has seen, shows the two girls playing with each other. 

In the footage, Mabuya’s daughter is seen walking down the stairs towards the play area followed by Viljoen’s daughter. The pair moves around the play area and at some point can’t be seen by the camera. 

Mabuya’s daughter then emerges and walks out of the play area with Viljoen’s daughter close behind, but she doesn’t exit the room. 

Mabuya’s daughter returns and the two girls continue playing, again moving out of camera view. They emerge again and exit the play area with neither looking distressed. No child minder appears to be present. 

This week Mabuya said she wasn’t certain what happened in the play area. She said her daughter told her that a girl had pinched her in the play area. 

“I told her to move to a different side and not pay attention to that girl. She came back again, saying the girl didn’t want them playing with anything in the area and was bothering them. 

“I told her to sit down, but after a while she went back. She returned again saying the girl had slapped her and she had hit her back,” Mabuya said. 

Mabuya said she doesn’t know what the truth was. “In fact, I don’t want to know because I am tired of this whole thing,” she said. 

She said had no idea the video she posted on social media would go viral. “The reality hit me on Tuesday when calls started coming in. With each call, I was left thinking what [the incident] had done to my kids, who witnessed such hate and profanity.” 

Mabuya, a nurse by profession, said the incident affected her 10-year-old son. 

“When I come back from work later than usual, he asks me if the white guy from the restaurant had come for me. When I tell him no, he says he is scared that he will come to my workplace and assault me.” 

She said she had not taken her child for counselling. However, if he continued being withdrawn, she would take him to a psychologist. 

Spur has offered to pay for counselling for Mabuya and all the children who witnessed the violent incident. 

In cellphone video footage that went viral last week, Viljoen confronted Mabuya, demanding she discipline her child who had, according to him, hit his daughter. At the time, Mabuya was dining with several children. 

When Mabuya brushed him off, he grabbed the little girl’s arm and pulled her towards him. Mabuya moved quickly to pull the child back. She stood up and the two argued and swore at each other, with Viljoen threatening to physically assault her. 

He then walked away, but immediately returned after Mabuya continued to swear at him. On his return, he lifted and shook the table, spilling food and drinks on the children and Mabuya’s sister, who was seated at the other end of the table. 

Despite many people supporting Mabuya for standing up to Viljoen, she wasn’t proud of what happened. 

“I don’t approve of the language I used. I felt cornered and had to stand up for my children because this man was bullying us,” she said. 

“If I had sat and not responded, I would have failed my children because they would think that’s how people should behave towards them and they should accept it,” she said. 

Efforts to reach Viljoen were fruitless. His phone was switched off and his social-media account was shut down.

How to combat racism

Make use of equality courts - all magistrates’ courts serve as equality courts. 

If you have been racially discriminated against, lay a complaint at your local court. 

Speak out against racism. When someone makes a racist comment, you should call it out and state why you think the statement is overtly or subtly racist. Racists may not always expect to be challenged and may often assume that you hold the same views as them. Counter their narrative. 

Learn about racism - be aware of the history of legislated racism and colonialism in South Africa. To grasp why racism is so persistent and entrenched, understanding the impact of apartheid is critical. 

Record and post racism videos on social media - social-media users take it upon themselves to call out racism and confront cyber-racists online.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  racism

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