Warrant of arrest issued as Topbet 'strip-search' rape accused skips court

2018-03-29 13:56
Magistrate's Court. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, File)

Magistrate's Court. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, File)

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The Germiston Magistrate's Court issued a warrant of arrest after one of the two women accused of "strip-searching" cleaners at Topbet gambling failed to appear in court.

The two women, aged 29 and 54, were charged with rape after they were accused of strip-searching cleaners at the gambling outlet in Germiston.

They first appeared on February 9 and were granted bail on February 23.

ALSO READ: Topbet manager fired over 'humiliating' search for menstrual blood

The case was postponed to April 12, after the 54-year-old woman didn't arrive for her court appearance on Thursday and the court issued a warrant of arrest for her.

The two women were charged with rape, and alternatively with sexual assault, after they were accused of lining up cleaners at Topbet and "strip-searching" them after menstrual blood was found in one of the company's bathrooms.

Earlier this month, Ekurhuleni cluster police spokesperson Captain Andre de Jager told News24 that the person who reported the incident to police alleged that female employees were told to take off their clothes so that they could be checked for signs of menstruation.

Company 'devastated'

During a highly-charged interview with Eyewitness News, one employee said she was among the group of female employees who were checked.

Topbet, which takes bets on horse racing and sports events, said in a subsequent statement it was devastated by the incident and that it went against its company ethos.

"Topbet is a women-run and owned business and we consider women's rights and our valued employees' constitutional rights to privacy, dignity, freedom and security, and bodily and psychological integrity of paramount importance," the company said in a statement issued on its behalf by a communications company.

ALSO READ: Schoolgirl kills herself after teacher ‘tortures’ her over menstrual stains

"One of our core values is to create a safe and happy working environment for all of our staff, most of whom are women.

"We have been devastated to learn of the incident that occurred at our Germiston branch and wish to address some of the allegations in the media in the statement that follows."

The company denies that any of the women searched were physically touched, but described the incident as "degrading" and "inhumane".

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