Employer handcuffs ex-employee to gate

NORTHCLIFF – A domestic worker was handcuffed to the gate of her employer’s home after demanding the outstanding money that was owed to her. The incident occurred on 17 January in full view of eyewitnesses in Northcliff.

The worker said that a wage dispute began in November last year when her employer did not pay her full salary and assured her that he would add it to her December pay.

“I notified him that I would be going on leave on 14 December. While I was talking to him I was looking down and when I looked up he had a gun pointed in my direction. I was so scared, I ran downstairs and asked him to open the gate so I could leave,” she explained.

“I had to go back home to Harrismith, on December leave, without being paid as promised by my employer. Throughout December he assured me he would pay me but never did. My intention was to return to work in January.”

She described how she came back to Johannesburg and on 17 January headed to her employer’s house, after he asked her to collect her money. An eyewitness who escorted the domestic worker waited with her for about 20 minutes.

“He then came out the gate and approached us. He took out his handcuffs and slammed me against the car. He then dragged me using the handcuffs to the gate where he handcuffed me. A neighbour then called the police for assistance,” she said.

The employer confirmed the incident to Northcliff Melville Times but claimed he handcuffed his former employee to the gate to prevent her from escaping.

“She was stealing from me, so I just handcuffed her to the gate and then called the police. I was arrested on the day for common assault and released on bail. I also opened a case at the Fairland Police Station,” said the former employer.

He added that he does not intend to pay her salary until she returns the items she allegedly stole.

Florida Police Station spokesperson Captain Lydia Mtila-Dikolomela said the docket has been sent to the public prosecutor, who will then decide if the case will go on trial or will be struck off the roll. The case against the employer is still under investigation.

The domestic worker denies stealing anything from her employer and would like to see the evidence he claims to have against her.

She has also lodged a formal complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to represent her so that she can be compensated for her salary, as well as the humiliation and pain caused by this incident.

Editor’s Note: This story has been edited to clarify the fact the Ms Leotlela was still in the employ of Mr Terblanche at the time of the incident. A previous version implied that Leotlela had indicated to Terblanche that she would be leaving, rather than that she would be going away on annual leave. Northcliff Melville Times apologises for this.

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