I feel violated: Waitress ‘strip-searched by colleague’ over missing money
Soweto café staffer claims she was even told her to remove her sanitary pad and place it on the table
A Soweto waitress who was allegedly strip-searched after being accused of stealing at work says she wants justice.
Nikita Ntshingila, 25, a waitress at the Moja Café in Orlando East, broke down in tears as she described how she was forced to strip naked and even place her sanitary pad on the table.
“I felt so violated. They had no right to take my clothes off,” Ntshingila told Times Select’s sister publication, the Sowetan newspaper.
She said the trouble started while she was on duty on Saturday night and the customers she had been serving neglected to settle their R3,000 bill before leaving the establishment.
Ntshingila said the customer had settled two previous bills that had accumulated during the course of the day, but neglected to pay the third bill.
That evening, she was called in by the manager who accused her of pocketing the money.
Ntshingila said a female colleague was then instructed to search her in a separate room.
“I remember indicating to to her that I did not want to expose my body,” she said.
Ntshingila said the colleague insisted that she undress.
“She told me to remove everything.”
She said that when she explained that she was menstruating the female colleague told her to remove her sanitary pad and place it on the table.
She was told “don’t cry, it’s not personal, it’s just business”.
She was so upset, she sent a manager a WhatsApp message at 3am, which read: “To be honest with you I’m beyond hurt and I feel violated, harassed and embarrassed by the situation.”
“I want to take legal steps against them but I don’t know where to go. I need help.”
On Wednesday, Karabo Tau, the general manager at the restaurant, said the matter was being investigated.
Tau said no one from management had given an instruction for Ntshingila to be undressed, adding that the restaurant had lost thousands of rands to walkouts in the past and never had a waitress been subjected to a strip-search.
He said another staff member had claimed they saw Ntshingila take the money.
“We don’t know to what extent she was searched. No one instructed that she must be strip-searched.”
Tau said the restaurant would take appropriate action once the internal investigation had been done.