Police are investigating a case of assault against the owner of a popular East London eatery after an employee accused him of hitting her.
Jamie Hogg owns the well-known Sanook restaurants, in Berea and Beacon Bay, and is due to appear in court on February 22.
Nkosazana Parantshane, who was 33 weeks pregnant at the time, claims she went into early labour because of the alleged assault and her baby spent a week in the intensive care unit.
She had been working as a “deep fryer” at the Beacon Bay restaurant since 2014.
In her complaint Parantshane said she had been working on October 27 last year, when Hogg approached her and asked her why she was washing her hands in dirty water.
When she tried to explain herself Hogg allegedly hit her with an open hand on her back and pushed her.
But Hogg has vehemently denied the allegations and accused Parantshane of making up the story to get money from his family. “It is absolutely obscene, she has made up this story. She is only trying to get money from us. She only went into labour two weeks after she stopped working.
“As a businessman, I know the repercussions of such an act.”
Parantshane showed the Dispatch her medical certificate from October 28, which stated she was not feeling foetal movements and was bleeding.
She went into labour on November 5.
The Dispatch has seen a text message exchange purportedly between Parantshane and Hogg’s wife Natasha. In one message Parantshane writes: “Hi Natasha, don’t be surprised when I take legal action against your husband after what he did to me, he has no right to push and beat me at the back, he knows very well I am pregnant and anything that happens, I am blaming him because I have witnesses but I wanted to tell you first because you are my boss.”
After an exchange of messages, Natasha then responded to Parantshane saying she had spoken to her husband and he was sorry.
“I have spoken to Jamie, he is under too much pressure” … “We are going to sell the shops” … “ He is sorry,” she says.
After a number of messages between both parties, Natasha informed Parantshane that the Hoggs were seeking legal advice and it was best for them to stop communicating and deal with the matter legally.
On November 11, Parantshane received a letter from Hogg’s lawyer confirming she had been employed by the Hoggs and a settlement agreement had been reached where she was paid R4651.
Parantshane claims that this payment related to an agreement between her and the Hoggs where she would be paid R6000 for the two months (November and December) that she could not work – as she had been deemed unfit to work.
The lawyer’s letter also stated that any action pursued by Parantshane would be “vigorously defended”.
In another exchange between Natasha and Parantshane, the latter questions why she did not receive the full R6000.
“For two months R4651.00, that is what I want to understand. What are these deductions for because I want my money.’’
Natasha responds: “These are standard deductions that show on your payslip, less the R749 paid to you … Now leave me alone”.
Police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Hazel Mqala confirmed a case of assault had been opened against Hogg and that the matter was set down for February 22. — firstname.lastname@example.org