Family ordered to pay R200,000 to worker who was force-fed faeces

The Equality Court in Springs has ordered three family members to pay their former employee R200,000 in damages after they forced him to eat faecal matter.
The Equality Court in Springs has ordered three family members to pay their former employee R200,000 in damages after they forced him to eat faecal matter.
Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

The South African Human Rights Commission has welcomed a decision by the Equality Court, which ordered a Springs family to pay a former worker R200,000 in damages after force-feeding him faeces.

Joseph Mona was allegedly called a "useless k****r" by his employer‚ Harry Leicester‚ in December 2017 after he failed to switch on a septic tank pump.

Mona had demanded an unconditional public apology from Leicester‚ his wife Maria and their son Chris in addition to R100‚000 in damages for the hurt that was inflicted on him.

Chris allegedly held his hands and dragged Mona towards the sewer hole. The farmer took a big jug‚ dipped it in the sewer hole and forced him to drink its contents while calling him a "k****r".

The commission instituted proceedings on behalf of Mona in the Equality Court.

The family members had also forced Mona into the sewer hole, where he almost drowned.

Mona managed to pull himself out, using a pipe for draining faecal matter.

The commission said that in her judgement, magistrate Pravina Lazarus said it was clear that Mona had suffered the lowest form of humiliation and was treated as sub-human. The magistrate said Mona had been treated worse than an animal and that this was a huge blow to his dignity as a human being.

The court found that that utterances by each of the three family members were hate speech as defined in the Equality Act. The ruling said these utterances violated Mona’s constitutional rights to human dignity and equality and caused him both emotional and psychological suffering.

The court ordered the family to make a written unconditional apology to Mona on or before March 11. They were also ordered to attend a programme on race relations for three months at the Human Rights Commission.

The judge also ordered them to pay damages of R200,000 to Mona for the impairment of his dignity and for causing him pain and emotional and psychological suffering.


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