SOUR SHOP:Steers in Thohoyandou owners are accused of abusing workers.
Pic: CHESTER MAKANA. 13/08/2009. © Sowetan.
SOUR SHOP:Steers in Thohoyandou owners are accused of abusing workers. Pic: CHESTER MAKANA. 13/08/2009. © Sowetan.

AN OFF-DUTY police officer allegedly tried to scare a woman, who says she was assaulted by her employer, from laying charges.

Constable David Mudzunga allegedly told Steers Thohoyandou cashier Tendani Mudau that opening a case against fast food outlet owner Ayub Patel would endanger her life.

Mudau alleges she was assaulted by Patel and his nephew at the shop after they accused her of allowing a customer to walk away with a plate of food.

She says Patel and his nephew Mohamed had quarrelled with customers who had demanded their money back because they were given poorly prepared burgers.

Patel was arrested on August 2 and released the next day by the Thohoyandou magistrate's court on R1000 bail on assault charges.

Patel denied he had assaulted Mudau and claims he knew nothing about the assault though he was arrested and charged.

Though he was officially off duty, Mudzunga had followed Mudau to Tshilidzini Hospital near Thohoyandou in Limpopo, and allegedly offered unsolicited advice.

Mudau said the constable told her that it was better not to open a case against the businessman because her life would be in danger.

Mudzunga never told her why it would be dangerous to lay a charge against her employer, she said.

"I was with other police who took me to the hospital," Mudau said. "On the way back to the police car, he [Mudzunga] said he wanted to talk to me. I said I could not and he insisted that he wanted to help me.

"When we were close to the car he said it would be better if I didn't open a case because if I did, my life would be in danger."

Mudzunga conceded that he was a friend of the accused and said he had not asked the victim not to open a case but to resolve the matter.

"I only suggested that the matter should be resolved between the parties before it goes somewhere," Mudzunga said.

Mudzunga further claimed that he could not have intervened because the victim had already been given a medical examination report.

But Mudau is still shocked by the constable's action.

"I am scared," she said. "If a policeman says that I will be in danger it's scary.

"He was supposed to protect me but he scares me, why?"

Patel said he had laid a counter charge after his workers assaulted his nephew.

Limpopo police spokesperson Superitendent Ronell Otto said yesterday that they were going to investigate the matter and if the allegations are found to be true, action will be taken against the officer.