Photographer sues Shoprite
A LOCAL photographer, Francis Tšotleho Mohlakola, has filed a M95 000 claim against Shoprite for assault by the supermarketchain’s security officers five years ago.
Giving evidence before High Court judge Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi on Monday in motivation of the claim, Mr Mohlakolo (57) said he was “severely” assaulted by Shoprite Supermarket security officers after an altercation with another customer on 6 April 2010. The incident happened at the supermarket’s branch located at LNDC Centre along Kingsway in Maseru.
“It was during the Easter holidays on 6 April 2010 when I went to Shoprite to buy some items,” said Mr Mohlakolo.
“There were many people in the shop as it was during the holidays, and I was standing in a long queue leading to the till.
“It so happened that another till was opened, and I ran to it to pay for the items I had bought from the shop. One lady ran before me and was in front of me at that particular till.
“But that lady did not have goods in her hands and I paid for the items I had. It was at that time that the lady shouted at me, asking why I was paying before her yet she was in front of me.”
Mr Mohlakolo told Justice Monaphathi that the lady, whose identity he did not know, pulled a trolley from someone behind him.
“As she pulled it, she pressed me against the counter and I was injured in the process,” he said.
“Surprisingly, the lady called for help from the security personnel. Two security officers came, and upon their arrival, the lady told them that I wanted to pay before her yet she had arrived first at the till.
“The security officers started beating me up and then took me to the storeroom where I was severely assaulted. At the time, they were four of them and they beat me up while my hands were cuffed.”
The beating, he added, only stopped when the shop manager arrived and asked him what had happened.
Mr Mohlakolo said after giving an explanation, he then asked for permission from the manager to go to another shop to collect some bags he had left there.
“As I approached the exit, two officers came to me and assaulted me again until I escaped and ran towards other security guards outside the shop.
“Those guards belonged to a different security company and they intervened,” he said.
In his opening address, the lawyer representing Shoprite, Advocate Phillip Loubser, said the supermarket was contesting Mr Mohlakolo’s claim that their security personnel assaulted him.
“Our position is that we deny the liability,” he said.
The case was postponed to next Monday after Mr Mohlakolo’s lawyer, Advocate Molefi Ntlhoki (King’s Counsel), told the court he had to attach medical reports to the court documents.
Francis Tšotleho Mohlakola