an article on a domestic worker who took her boss to court over alleged racism

First published in the Cape Argus on 13 September 2013

A Table View man appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Thursday accused of spitting on his partner’s domestic worker and using the K-word on several occasions.

Members of the South African Domestic Service and Allied Workers Union (Sadsawu) and other protesters gathered outside the court in solidarity with Gloria Kente.

 André van Deventer, 35, appeared briefly in court on a charge of common assault and crimen injuria. The case was postponed to October 16.

When Van Deventer left the courtroom, the protesters followed him down the road.

Meanwhile, Kente and her lawyer, Peter Williams, gave a brief press conference outside the court.

Kente said she had been employed by the family for eight years and alleged that Van Deventer had racially abused her since he moved into the home about six years ago.

She would live with the family at the weekends while her employer, who worked in a hotel, was away.

One weekend the situation with Van Deventer had worsened, she alleged.

The next day, with the support of her employer, she decided to lay a charge against Van Deventer.

Van Deventer was arrested on July 7 and subsequently released on a warning.

He first appeared in court on August 14.

Williams said the matter was on the court roll for mediation but that they were not interested in mediation.

“We want a full court case to take place,” he said.

He said they were also looking at taking the matter to the Equality Court.

Wilhemina Trout, the national co-ordinator for Sadsawu, said that members were outside the court to show solidarity with Kente and the provincial trade unions for taking on the matter.

“We are also here to support the brave step that Gloria has taken, today she is the hero of the day. I hope that this will be an example for many domestic workers.

“We get these complaints on a regular basis and as soon as you mention court or let’s contact the employer then people are so afraid.

“I think for Gloria it was also the encouragement of the employer… She got the support and the employer obviously stood by her.”


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