A Siyabuswa woman who was sjambokked and dragged naked through the township’s streets after being caught in bed with a married man has been awarded R165 000 damages.
Judge Cynthia Pretorius ordered that Thabisile Tibane pay R150 000 and her sister Lindiwe Masemola to pay R15 000 to 36-year-old Rose Mashiane.
Mashiane, who had an affair with Masemola’s husband, Xoli, initially sued the sisters for R1 million in damages following an incident in October 2012 when the two women attacked and viciously assaulted her after catching her spending the night with her lover while his wife was away.
Tibane grabbed her by the hair, slapped and dragged her outside by pulling on her breast. The two women pursued her while she was running away and tore off her underwear so she was completely naked.
Tibane then hit her with a sjambok while Masemola took photos of the assault. She was then bundled into Masemola’s car and taken to Xoli’s mother, who told them to take Mashiane back to the house so she could fetch her clothes.
The three-hour assault took place in public, and a video that was made of the incident was viewed by thousands of people on social media. To add to Mashiane’s humiliation, photos of the assault and of her naked body were published on the front page of the Daily Sun about three weeks later under the headline “Sjambok for a naked cheater”.
Tibane was later fined R1 000 and sentenced to nine months under house arrest for the assault, while Masemola and the man who took the video were acquitted. Mashiane testified that she had to go for counselling after the incident and she was scared to be seen in public, as people whispered about and laughed at her.
Judge Pretorius said it was clear from the video that Tibane had viciously and relentlessly assaulted and humiliated Mashiane, who was so ashamed to testify in open court that she was unable to watch the whole video of the incident.
The judge said there was no reason for the sisters’ actions, and Mashiane’s very public ordeal was further aggravated by the article on the front page of the tabloid. She found that Masemola had also assaulted Mashiane, but to a lesser extent than her sister.