A betting company has suspended a woman after she laid charges of rape against two of its employees.
Three clerks yesterday told Eyewitness News (EWN) they – and more than 20 female colleagues – were strip-searched and physically fondled to see who was menstruating after blood had been found in a staff toilet at the Germiston branch of Topbet on the East Rand.
Women’s Minister Bathabile Dlamini was unavailable for comment and Topbet did not respond to requests for comment.
According to EWN, the Topbet national office confirmed the incident and said it had apologised unequivocally to staff, while an independent female advocate has been appointed to conduct further investigations. According to the company, the employee involved has been suspended.
On 702 radio yesterday, suspended Topbet employee “Gladys” described the assault which happened on January 30. She said there had been a bloodstain left in the toilet and the manager had demanded to know who had done it.
“When nobody came forward, he instructed the cleansers to physically check the women to see who was menstruating.
“I told the manager I’m 56 years old, I’m no longer menstruating,” Gladys said. “She answered me and said whether or not you’re menstruating or not you must go inside [to be checked].”
Her voice quivering, Gladys said the experience was humiliating and she felt violated.
“I was so stressed the whole day and when I knocked [off] for the day, I told the managers that I’m going to see you guys because you violated my rights, you disrespected me, and since then on the 23rd, they suspended me.”
Gladys said she was told the suspension was because she had opened a case over the incident. She said she was told she was also being suspended because the company had had to bail out the people who had been arrested.
Aisling O’Connor, a director at Topbet, said she and her sisters owned the company and did not condone the incident at all.
“Two of our staff members have been arrested for rape, the manager and the cleaner were arrested. Gladys was not searched,” O’Connor told 702.
She said Gladys was suspended following advice from police and labour lawyers.