Pho­tog­ra­pher sues Shoprite

Lesotho Times - - News - Tefo Tefo

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

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