Durban man accused of setting a cleaner's leg on fire appears in court

Zinhle Mchunu was attacked at work allegedly by her employer's son who poured petrol and set her alight./africa news agency
Zinhle Mchunu was attacked at work allegedly by her employer's son who poured petrol and set her alight./africa news agency
Image: Africa news agency

Durbanite Dustin Govender – who stands accused of dousing a cleaner at his father’s business with petrol before setting her alight – made a brief appearance in the Durban Magistrate’s court on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old had already been released from custody having paid police bail of R7‚000 on Monday night. He faces a charge of attempted murder.

The Sowetan reported that Zinhle Mchunu‚ 31‚ was nursing third-degree burns to her left leg after the attack in May‚ which had initially seemed playful.

Mchunu‚ who worked as a cleaner at car service and repair shop in the Durban inner city‚ spent a week at Addington Hospital.

Nearly a month after the incident‚ Govender found himself in the dock before a magistrate. He will appear in court again on August 3.

Mchunu told the paper that she was bullied by Govender’s parents‚ who told her that they had "expensive" lawyers on their side and that the matter would amount to nothing.

Reliving the moments before flames engulfed her leg‚ Mchunu said that Govender had tried to set her hair alight with a lighter.

"I managed to stop him and I went outside to clean the company car. I was standing next to the car when he said 'you know I can burn you?' I thought he was joking‚ but he started pouring petrol on the ground and on my left leg before setting it alight using the lighter. I screamed for help and he managed to extinguish the fire‚" Mchunu said.

The suspect rushed her to a nearby chemist to get pain killers.

"I had to call for an ambulance to take me to the hospital. He asked me not to tell his family or my family about what had happened as it will cause problems for him. His father never visited me in hospital‚ he only sent my month's wages‚" she said.

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