Woolworths has admitted they were at fault when they accused a barefoot engineer of theft.
The retailer’s Corporate Communications Manager, Kirsten Hewett, tells the Daily Voice they made an “honest mistake” accusing Mpumelelo Ncwadi, 53, of stealing pille at their West Coast Mall store in July.
Mpumelelo, of Parklands, said he was “racially profiled” and discriminated against by Woolies on two occasions, when security guards accused him of theft.
“We have established there was a miscommunication between our Pay Point Controller and the security personnel,” says Hewett.
“In stores, when a customer is suspected of taking, concealing and leaving the store without paying for a product, we are required to take action. “
“Unfortunately, in this instance, an honest mistake was made.
“We have been in ongoing contact with the customer, since we were first made aware of the incident, to apologise for this mistake and resolve the matter.”
Mpumelelo believes he was targeted by security guards because was “barefoot and black”.
He says he grew up not wearing shoes on a farm along the Fish River and likes being kaalvoet.
On a previous occasion in May, a guard followed him to the parking lot, accusing him of theft, but apologised profusely when he saw their till slip.
Mpumelelo says Woolworths has offered him a R1 000 voucher in compensation, which he has declined.
The dad says he wants a Woolworths representative to come and apologise in person.
“A woman from their regional office called and said someone is going to come and see me this week, so I wait for a formal visit and response.”