AFRICANGLOBE – Well, this is the shocking discovery that more than 40 Black male employees of a South African store, in Silverton, Pretoria made yesterday.
The employees downed tools after discovering, they said, a miniature surveillance camera on the ceiling of their staff toilets.
They said they were alerted to the presence of the device by a technician.
Employee Moses Phetla, 40, said he saw a tiny lens with an aerial view of the room on the ceiling. He decided to find out if it was a camera. The store management has denied the existence of a camera. “I used gum to cover the lens and went out. I immediately returned and pretended to take a pee. I was shocked when I saw my manager, Francois Pieterse, standing right behind me.
”This means he had realised his camera 15 was blank on the monitor and came to investigate,” Phetla said.
He said there were separate toilets for Black and white employees. This was confirmed by three other employees.
He suspected the owners watched as they used the toilet.
“This is the worst violation of our privacy you can think of,” he said.
Ronnie Makaba, 31, said the employees confronted co-owner Hein Krugmann about the camera.
“He agreed that this was wrong but said the person who installed it was in Japan. He is taking us for fools,” Makaba said.
The employees removed the camera and kept it as evidence. They have opened a case of crimen injuria at Silverton police station.
“No one has been arrested. We are still investigating,” police spokesman Warrant Officer Michael Mbewe said.
The striking employees were given dismissal letters after they defied an ultimatum to return to work within 30 minutes.
The matter has been taken up by Lawyers for Human Rights.
Pieterse denied the claims, saying: “I know nothing about [a camera]. There was no camera.”
Krugmann was asked for comment yesterday but he said he was in a meeting and gave his personal assistant’s number. She said Krugmann was in meetings.
By: Sipho Masombuka