My employer's son set me alight - cleaner

2018-06-21 15:54


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"Please don't tell my dad. He is going to kill me."

This is what cleaner Zinhle Mchunu says she was told by her employer's son, moments after he allegedly set her alight.

Mchunu, who works at a garage in Durban, told News24 that she was still coming to terms with the ordeal, which she says occurred a month ago, on May 21.

Police have confirmed that a case of attempted murder is being investigated.

The 31-year-old mother alleges that the owner's son had initially harassed her by setting her hair extensions on fire.

"I didn’t know it had happened until he told me and started laughing about it," she says.

She says she walked away and continued to clean the cars parked outside.

ALSO READ: Mbete concerned about Manana domestic worker assault complaint

A few minutes later, he allegedly followed her inside – this time carrying a red can with liquid, which smelt like petrol.

He allegedly poured the liquid at her feet, saying, "I will burn you, you know I can burn you," she says.

Mchunu says while she was shocked by his actions, she did not expect him to actually set her alight.

She says it was then that he took out his lighter and threw it at the liquid on the floor, resulting in her leg catching fire.

"I was wearing a sock. My skin peeled. I can't walk and can't put my foot down. My foot can move, but it is very painful at night," she said, adding that the man then "panicked and tried to extinguish the flame".

"He then put me in the car and said he would take me to the doctor."

She says they then rushed to the nearest pharmacy, but it was closed.

'I am a bit scared to go back to work'

At the second chemist, a pharmacist was able to assist her by giving her painkillers and attempting to treat the wound.

The pain was not alleviated, and she was later admitted to Addington Hospital, where she stayed for a week. She could not say how severe the burns were, but is expected to visit her doctor again at the end of the month.

Mchunu is currently walking on crutches and recovering under her mother's care in Newlands.

"I just want the law to take its course. I am a bit scared to go back to work. I don’t know what the future holds and what the working environment would be.

ALSO READ: Domestic worker rape case transferred back to Bronkhorstspruit

"He (owner) called me twice, but didn't offer any explanation. He said next time I am at the hospital, I should let him know," she says.

Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said the case had been reported on Tuesday.

"For now, police are busy with the docket. We are investigating the incident."

No arrests had yet been made.

Her employer could not be reached for comment despite numerous calls to his cellphone and business.

Read more on:    durban  |  crime

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