Kgotso Makaane

Kgotso Makaane

It has been a year since Bongani Buthelezi was fired from his job for using a "whites only" toilet.

And he has not been paid the money owed to him by Venter, a company that specialises in the sales, repairs and rental of trailers.

Buthelezi, 36, was employed as an car mechanic for two years before he got fired from the giant trailer company's satellite branch in Midrand, Johannesburg.

"For me working meant support and food for my family, especially my mother who is constantly ill," Buthelezi says.

Buthelezi's woes started when he was transferred from the Roodepoort, West Rand, branch to Midrand.

He blames his former branch manager, Suzanne Panther, for losing his job and accuses her of racism and emotional abuse.

"From the moment I started working with her I had no peace because day after day she called me a 'kaffir', 'baboon' or a 'twat'," Buthelezi says.

Sowetan discovered that the Midrand branch has no outside toilets for employees who work in the yard.

No blacks work inside the building, where there is only one toilet that is used by Panther who is the only female employee.

"One afternoon I used the toilet," Buthelezi says. "She followed me and told me to flush the toilet because we blacks stink.

"When I came out she sprayed the toilet with an air freshener. I asked her if that was necessary.

"That was when she fired me on the spot."

Panther denies the allegations and says: "As far as I am concerned Buthelezi has been paid R14000 by the company."

Buthelezi says: "I've been trying to lay charges of crimen injuriaat various police stations in Midrand, Randburg and Soweto but to no avail."