Furore over caged man

SOME SAID the man was aggressive, abusive and drunk. Others said he was caught trying to steal fried chicken. But the video shows a man badly beaten – and locked up in a cage like a wild animal!

Shocked customers were pleading for the man to be released. The video shows a man sitting alone in a cage behind a shop, nursing his injuries. He is holding his bloodied head. Maesela Kekana, the man who took the video, said he was on his way from a wedding in Kimberley when he stopped at the Chicken Licken in Potchefstroom for a snack.

As he came out of the shop, a young mlungu boy was screaming at staff to have the beaten man removed from the cage. “He was calling everyone to come and see the caged man and help him to be freed and to get medical attention,” said Maesela. He and his friends went to investigate and found the man in the cage.

“It was the most inhumane thing I had ever seen,” he said. “The man was crying and begging for mercy and forgiveness. The boy was angry at the Chicken Licken staff members,” he said. Bubu Khumalo, who was with Maesela, said the unhappy people went inside to confront the manager.

“We were shocked to hear from the boy that the man was accused of stealing chicken. “They should have called the police if he had stolen from the shop,” said Bubu.

A woman is heard in the video calling for the man to be freed because they will be in trouble for what they had done. Jerry Mashoka, who was also travelling with Maesela, said they tried to help the boy in his efforts to free the man.

A staff member then walks into the cage from the restaurant and appears to unlock the gate. “We called the police and the paramedics, who arrived at the same time,” said Jerry.

Paramedics treated the man on the scene. “We left when we saw the authorities taking charge,” said Jerry. “It was very disturbing. I have second thoughts about supporting this business.”

Chicken Licken shop owner Ahmed Motara confirmed that the incident did happen at his shop on Sunday. In spite of the video, he said the man was not locked up in a cage but in a back room of the shop. “He was hit by one of the female cashiers who was protecting the other cashier talking to the drunken man,” he said.

Motara said the man came to the shop extremely drunk and he was banging the glass security bar that separates customers to cashiers. The cashiers were apparently worried he would break the glass, so they unlocked the door and a fight started in the shop.

Motara said he will go back to the footage of what happened at the shop on Sunday as he was not there when it happened. “If I find out that one of the workers at the shop were wrong, I will dismiss them and lay criminal charges against them,” he said.

Chicken Licken head office said they were not aware of the incident and will call the shop owner for information.

But when Daily Sun later called the Chicken Licken offices, the phone rang unanswered, and they hadn’t contacted the People’s Paper by the time of going to print yesterday.

Potchefstroom police said as they did not have a name of a complainant, they did not know if the man in the cage had laid official charges at the police station.

Asinavalo

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