Domestic help told to get disability grant after attack

RECOVERING: Nonceba Mantshiyane, who was mauled by her employer’s pitbull, has been discharged from hospital and is recovering at home. Below, Nonceba in hospital on the day tragedy struck Picture: SIBONGILE NGALWA
RECOVERING: Nonceba Mantshiyane, who was mauled by her employer’s pitbull, has been discharged from hospital and is recovering at home. Below, Nonceba in hospital on the day tragedy struck Picture: SIBONGILE NGALWA
Nonceba Thelma Mantshiyane – a domestic worker who lost her right arm after being mauled by her employer’s pitbull terrier – will be better off financially receiving a disability grant than a salary.

This is according to her employer, Elsie Potgieter, 41.

Mantshiyane has worked as a domestic for Potgieter and her husband, Leon Muller, in Cambridge for 14 years.

“Financially, she is not worse off than she was,” Potgieter said.

“I have been there for Thelma every single day in hospital and I think she would be better off with a disability grant because she was not working for me every day.

“My family has been devastated by this whole thing ... It was an unfortunate accident.”

Potgieter confirmed she had suggested Mantshiyane apply for a disability grant.

“If I was living in Bunkers Hill, maybe I could afford to compensate her, but I live in Cambridge,” she said.

“I have sat down with Thelma and we have discussed this.

“I have told her that if she wants to take this further she must go and get legal advice.

“I cannot be expected to pay her for the rest of my life, I don’t have that kind of money. All we can do is what we can.”

Potgieter said Mantshiyane had expressed an interest in reporting back for duty, but she had told her to take some months off to fully recover.

Mantshiyane told the Dispatch Potgieter had told her she would not receive her salary for much longer and should apply for a disability grant. Once she receives her grant, she will no longer be paid her salary.

Mantshiyane was savagely attacked on the afternoon of June 8 when she tried to save the family’s tortoise from the pitbull.

She relived the ordeal during a Daily Dispatch visit to her family home in Newlands yesterday.

“The tortoise lived in the front of the house and the dogs lived in the back. There is a small gate separating the back and front and it was left open by people who were building a wall in the yard – that is how the tortoise got to the back, causing it to be attacked by the dogs.”

Asked why she risked her life, she said: “I did not think things would turn out the way they did.

Those dogs grew up in front of me. I fed them every day for years, I thought they knew me.”

She said while Cane, the pitbull, bit her on the face and arm, Roxy the chihuahua had licked her wounds.

“The attack started at 2.30pm and lasted until 4pm. I lay face down and felt Cane eating at me.

“It was as if I was being slaughtered by a knife.

“He continued biting me until he was left with my bones to chew.

“Suddenly I heard a small voice inside me saying I must pretend as if I was dead ...

“He let go of me and lay next to me. I just lay there motionless because I knew if I moved he was going to finish me off.”

The next thing she remembers is being on a stretcher and being put in an ambulance.

She spent two months in Frere Hospital being treated for her injuries – she lost her arm and also has a large scar on her face.

The dog was euthanased. — zwangam@dispatch.co.za

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