The Redefine Properties has suspended the Boulders Shopping centre manager who was seen trying to kick out a customer from ‘his’ mall for wearing traditional Ndebele garb.
Johannesburg – Redefine Properties has suspended the Boulders Shopping Centre manager who was seen trying to kick out a customer wearing traditional Ndebele garb in a viral video which surfaced on Wednesday.
In the video, Ndebele activist and author Thando Mahlangu, was seen in a heated argument with the centre manager – who emphatically declared that ’this is my mall’ – in the passages of a Clicks store.
In the video, the centre manager can be heard telling Mahlangu that he should leave “his” shopping centre as he was not dressed appropriately.
Redefine Properties, who own and run the shopping centre, received a complaint from Clicks regarding the incident on Wednesday.
Redefine chief executive Andrew Konig said they were immediately placing the centre manager on suspension and expressed great regret at the manager’s actions.
“The Boulders’ Centre Manager has been suspended pending an internal investigation into the matter. It is imperative for Redefine to communicate that we are alive to the fact that no outcome of an internal action is capable of undoing the pain and embarrassment the action has caused.
“We respect the choice of all South Africans to dress, associate and assert their identity and cultural beliefs. As an immediate measure we will strengthen diversity training efforts to all our Centre Managers,” he said.
In an earlier statement, Clicks said they were embarrassed by the centre manager’s conduct.
Clicks said that their on-duty manager de-escalated the situation and sent the centre manager and his mall security guards packing.
“Clicks Midrand Boulders did not ask a customer dressed in Ndebele traditional wear to leave the Clicks store. The centre manager of Boulders, accompanied by Boulders Centre security, entered the Clicks store and demanded that the customer leave.
“The Clicks store manager intervened and asked the centre manager to leave. The customer was allowed to continue shopping. We are extremely embarrassed by the centre manager’s behaviour and will be putting a formal complaint,” said Clicks.
The centre manager in the video had described the mall as his and told the customers that right admission was reserved and he asked them to leave.
“Do you hear me? Let’s cut the story short, you’ve got a right of admission. I don’t condone this in my mall, ngicela uphume ke (please leave),” said the centre manager.
The clash continued until the centre manager told Clicks staff not to serve Mahlangu.
“I’m not going to argue with you, don’t sell them whatever they want to buy, they must just leave,” said the manager.
On Thursday, it was the centre manager who was asked to leave his office.