A white Ocean Basket franchise owner who assaulted a black employee has been removed from the restaurant.
Ocean Basket CEO Grace Harding, in an exclusive interview with TimesLIVE, said that the man was immediately removed when they became aware of the assault.
CCTV footage shows the owner of the Lakefield Ocean Basket in Benoni restaurant assaulting a junior staff member. The footage has gone viral creating outrage on social media, with calls for the store to boycotted.
The one minute footage, taken from CCTV cameras at the store, shows the manager smacking a black staff member in the face. The black staff member, backs off with the suspect casually following until his victim is backed up against a corner counter, where the assault continues. The man is seen repeatedly kneeing him in the stomach and chest as he tries to fend off the blows.
When TimesLIVE contacted the restaurant a white man answered the phone, but declined to reveal his name.
“I don’t know what you are talking about I have been inundated with calls from people asking what happened. I know nothing about this thing.
“I am shocked to hear about this, about what you and others are telling me.”
Asked if he had viewed the footage, he declined to answer.
“I don’t want to get involved in this. Its got nothing to do with me and I don’t want trouble.”
Harding said they were disgusted by what had happened.
“Its absolutely appalling.”
She said the assault, which occurred in July, became public last week when it was posted on FaceBook.
“When we saw it we immediately went to the store where we confronted the owner. We immediately removed him from our brand. We have provided counselling services to the employee who was assaulted.”
She said the attack, which was completely unwarranted, occurred after the employee, who has worked for Ocean Basket for nine years, allegedly broke a rule at the store.
“But, regardless of whether he broke a rule or committed a serious offence, as is alleged, this is not the way to deal with it. The behaviour of the owner, who has serious problems, was completely unwarranted. There are appropriate reporting mechanisms, which should have been followed,” she said.
Harding said the employee had been advised of his rights in terms of the law and laying criminal charges.
“He for now has chosen not to lay criminal charges, but that could change depending on the outcome of the social services provided to him.”
She said her focus now was on ensuring that all their staff felt safe at all their franchises.
“We have not hidden this and have chosen to speak out about it. “We have addressed the staff, and those at this store, have indicated that want to continue working at the store with the new owner.”
The assault comes just days after six white men attacked a black couple at a KFC in Pretoria.
Four people have been arrested in connection with that attack, while two others remain on the run.