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State Declined to Arraign Hartbeespoort Store Owner For Alleged Employee Assault


The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has declined to arraign the owner of Food Lover’s Market and Spar franchises in Hartbeespoort in the North West regarding the supposed assault of a worker.

“We declined to arraign, as there were no sensible prospects of a successful indictment,” NPA representative Phindi Mjonondwane clarified.

Chris Giannakopoulos was supposed to appear in the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court on Monday, but the case did not proceed because the State declined to prosecute.

Giannakopoulos was accused of assaulting Jacob Vurayai, who claimed that the accused used a wooden palette to beat him in August 2018 and caused injuries all over his body.

A female employee also opened a case of common assault against Giannakopoulos in October 2018.

Disappointed

Issues with witness statements and a lack of supporting medical records were also reasons which apparently led the State to decline to prosecute.

Vurayai, who had been waiting in court, said he was disappointed that the State declined to prosecute. He said it was a “normal trend for someone who has power” to have justice delayed in their cases.

When asked about the witness statements and whether he thought people were afraid to speak, he said: “I do not think people are afraid [to talk] because if you go to Montana Spar, you can ask anyone or even the vendors, they will tell the story as it is. I think it is just them who are saying the statements are contradicting.”

Vurayai added that he would continue to fight for justice to be served.

Unemployed

He said he has been struggling to find work since he stopped working at the Spar in 2017.

“Finding a job is very difficult for me because now I cannot stand in the sun for a prolonged period because of some injuries I sustained from that assault,” Vurayai said.

The Hartbeespoort Community Development Initiative (HCDI), which has been assisting Vurayai since he approached it, said they were also disappointed.

“Despite all the efforts that were put through to ensure that this day comes, we are here today and we witnessed the justice system rubbishing the ideas of our founding fathers, who were determined to see to it that all South Africans get to be treated as normal human beings,” HCDI spokesperson Russel Baloyi said.

Baloyi vowed to work hard to ensure that the matter was reviewed and that it returned to court.

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