GEORGE NEWS - A physical altercation between a customer and a security guard at the Garden Route Mall on Thursday 11 June created outrage after a video clip of the incident went viral.
The video shows a woman and a security guard in a scuffle when, out of nowhere, the woman's fiancé comes running up and takes the security guard down in a flying tackle.
The incident sparked a protest at the mall on Friday. Southern Cape police spokesperson Capt Malcolm Pojie confirmed on Tuesday morning that the police is scrutinising full CCTV footage of the altercation.
Guard back at work
Comments on Facebook suggesting the security guard had lost his job after the incident, are untrue. The guard reported for duty on Tuesday 16 June.
National marketing and communications manager of Fidelity Services Group, Charnel Hattingh, said the company fully supports the officer that was on duty. "We have conducted our own internal investigation. Our officer sustained an injury to his shoulder and has received medical attention." she said.
Details of the exact cause of the incident are sketchy, but it is clear that it was sparked by the fact that, in contravention of the mall's Covid-19 regulations, the woman in question was not wearing a mask. Things got out of hand when the guard asked her to put one on.
This was confirmed by at least two eyewitnesses who contacted George Herald, and does not correspond with the woman's version of events, so the CCTV footage will come in very handy.
According to one of the eyewitnesses the woman entered the mall without a face mask and refused to put one on when approached by the guard.
"She entered the mall shortly before closing time and the security guard stopped her. From what I could gather he told her to wear her mask, which she refused to do. A confrontation ensued and she slapped him through his face," he said.
A second eyewitness saw the woman running into the mall without a mask. "The security guard called after her a couple of times before she eventually turned around and stuck her finger in his face and shouted at him. They had words, she pushed him, he pushed her back and the rest is history," he said. In a telephone interview the woman alleged that the guard was the first to become physical.
"He pushed me, then he hit me with the fist and head-butted me," she said. According to her, she entered the mall with her mask in one hand looking for her mother. "I was about 15 or 20 metres into the mall when I heard someone screaming at me. I turned around and the security guard was walking towards me, shouting at me to put on my mask," she said.
According to her, the guard kept coming closer and they had words, after which he assaulted her.
Complaint of assault
Pojie confirmed that the security guard has laid an official complaint of assault at the Conville police station.
"The matter is under investigation by the detective branch," he said. At the time of going to print, no arrests had been made and no counter cases had been opened.
Following the incident, supporters of the PBI, ANC, Icosa, AIC and EFF gathered in the parking lot of the Garden Route Mall on Friday 12 June, uniting in protest against racism.
George Herald has tried since last Friday to make contact with the security guard involved in the incident. His colleagues, however, informed us that he was off-duty and they did not want to supply the newspaper with his contact number. Further attempts to contact the guard via a spokesperson also proved fruitless.