Bail for alleged shop abusers

South Africa
April 22 - A Limpopo widow who was brutally assaulted in the storeroom of a clothing store, is again facing her attackers. Esther Mankge was beaten by shop workers after being accused of shoplifting and cellphone footage of the incident went viral.

Limpopo - Three people accused of assaulting a shoplifter with a hammer were granted bail by the Nebo Magistrate's Court, in Limpopo, on Monday.

Shop workers Gladys Maphanga, Refilwe Mzimba and Thabanga Makuwa were released on R2000 bail each.

They were arrested last week after allegedly assaulting 49-year-old Ester Mankge, whom they accused of stealing underwear from a clothing shop.

Co-accused Matthew Makofane and Maria Mahlaela were released on R500 bail each last Tuesday.

Maphanga, Mzimba and Makuwa's bail application was initially delayed for a week after the court discovered they were not first time offenders.

A video of the accused, all employees at the clothing store, shows men beating Mankge with a rubber hammer and kicking her while she begs for mercy.

Police said the attack happened in October last year. The case was opened six months later after the video of the assault was spread via cellphones. This prompted police to search for those involved and arrest them.

Congress of SA Trade Unions and ANC Women's League members protested outside the court on Monday. Both organisations said they were disturbed by the embarrassing and dehumanising video.

They called on the court to hand down a strong sentence, saying it would deter others who tried to take the law into their own hands.

The case was postponed to June 25 for further investigation.

-Sapa

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