Employers in court as former domestic worker claims assault

A domestic worker has alleged that her employer, a Mayfair doctor, and his sons-in-law beat her, called her a “stupid k….r” and held her captive on their property for a week. Taryn Arnott writes for the Saturday Star.

Angelina Mulabisane [COR], 42, made these allegations in a statement in January. Yesterday [COR],  in the Brixton Magistrate’s Court, appearing before magistrate Wilma Ferreira, she faced cross-examination in the case against Abdul Hafiz Timol, 68, a doctor, and his two sons-in-law, Ahmed Bilal, 34, and Hashim Jadwat, 42, who are charged with assaulting her.

Mulabisane said in her statement that Dr Timol had accused her of facilitating a robbery on 12 September 2008 in his house where she worked as a domestic worker. Robbers had locked her and six Timol family members including two children, who were in the house at the time of the robbery, in the bathroom.

When the robbers left, Dr Timol allegedly accused her of sending “black people to come rob us” and called her a “stupid k….r”, she said in her statement.

Mulabisane said that after one of Timol’s sons-in-law broke the family out of the bathroom, he began to slap her and punch her breasts. She could not recall exactly which son-in-law it was. However, Timol’s son, Mohamed, tried to pull him off her.

Mulabisane also that on the day in question, she could not see because her eyes were swollen from being assaulted.

Mulabisane claimed that one of the accused pointed a gun at her, threatened to shoot her, and hit her in the face with the gun. He then pushed her to the floor when she tried to crawl away from the bathroom to fetch her cellphone. He allegedly told her that “today you are going to die” and took her cellphone.

She then returned to her room on the property. When police came to investigate the robbery, they allegedly refused to take her statement regarding the assault. Instead they questioned her over the phone calls she had made that day and confiscated her cellphone.

After that, Mulabisane claimed she was prevented from leaving the property, despite bleeding from her nose and mouth the following day. She said that on the following day, one of Timol’s sons asked her to continue doing laundry.

Mulabisane was only able to leave when her husband and brother came to collect her after she tossed a note over the wall to a fellow domestic worker. Mulabisane would not divulge the name of her fellow domestic worker in court, she claimed, because this woman was now being intimidated by the accused. The three accused shook their heads in apparent disbelief on hearing this.

A crowd gathered outside the gate, she said when they came to fetch her. Mohamed pointed a gun at them saying “Angie mustn’t leave” because the police had told her to stay there. Members of the crowd signalled two traffic officers who were passing by for help. The officers castigated Mohamed for waving a firearm around in public, and Mulabisane then left the premises.

Mulabisane claimed to suffer from epilepsy as a result of the assault. She is now unemployed and her husband died last year.

The validity of the statement was questioned for most of yesterday by defence advocate Hendrik Potgieter, who asked why Mulabisane had only provided the names of the assailants in a full statement given two-and-a-half years after the occurrence. Potgieter asked Mulabisane if her intention in giving a new statement with specific names in it was to launch a civil suit against the Timols.

“Yes,” she replied.

Advocate Potgieter said that a neighbour will testify that she saw Mulabisane sitting outside the premises in the week that she was allegedly held captive – and that therefore she was free to come and go as she pleased.

The trial will continue in October.

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