Mitchells Plain store proprietor says coverage was applied to cease ‘rampant shoplifting’.
First printed by GroundUp
He represented Liezel Haskin and her son Connor, professional bono, on the Equality Courtroom sitting in Mitchells Plain on Tuesday. Store proprietor Salauddin Khan is accused of denying Connor, who makes use of a wheelchair, access into his retailer in April 2019.
Connor has Down Syndrome and a few developmental delays related to West Syndrome. He requires fixed care and makes use of a wheelchair.
In court papers filed in December, Khan acknowledged that the coverage had been put in place to forestall “rampant shoplifting” at his retailer. He stated that the store attendant who was within the retailer on the time didn’t know of Connor’s incapacity and steered that he stroll or Haskin carry him by means of the shop. A couple of days after the incident, Khan and two different workers made an unannounced go to to Haskin’s house throughout which Khan apologised and left a slab of chocolate for Connor earlier than taking a photograph with him.
On Tuesday, Khoza stated that this was “a prima facie case of discrimination”.
“Mr Khan appears to counsel that just because his coverage was impartial on the face of it, just because it applies to everybody, it doesn’t discriminate in opposition to Connor. Ready-bodied youngsters would be capable to be taken out of the pram and stroll across the retailer and talk with the store attendant. However Connor can not stroll and can’t speak,” he stated.
Khoza argued that it might have been extra cheap for the store attendant to both search the wheelchair as Haskin and Connor left the shop or observe them as they shopped to make sure that no shoplifting occurred. Khoza then escorted Connor, seated in his black buggy, into the courtroom, to exhibit “how simple it might have been to look the wheelchair”.
He disputed arguments by Khan that his retailer attendant didn’t know that Connor was disabled. “You don’t should be instructed that the kid is disabled; you’ll be able to see it,” he stated.
Khoza referred to a Constitutional Courtroom ruling within the case MEC for Schooling in KwaZulu-Natal v Pillay 2008 which discovered that “equity requires cheap lodging in a single scenario or one other. And that cheap lodging is most applicable the place discrimination arises from a rule or observe that’s impartial on its face and is designed to serve a worthwhile function however which nonetheless has a marginalising impact on sure parts of society.” Connor’s case is a traditional instance of this, he stated.
Khan’s lawyer, Thariq Orrie, stated that his consumer was sympathetic in direction of Haskin and Connor. He stated that the coverage at Khan’s retailer was solely in place whereas renovations have been underway. The coverage is not applied as a result of the aisles are actually too slim to accommodate a wheelchair, he stated.
Orrie denied that Connor had been denied entry due to his incapacity.
“The worker was not conscious of the kid’s situation. There have been solely two workers working that day and the shop had no cameras on the time. The coverage was applied for well being and security causes,” he stated.
He stated as a store-owner, Khan “didn’t really feel snug looking out feminine prospects” as Khoza steered. “The one viable economical possibility could be to go away the pram on the cashier of the shop,” he stated.
When Justice of the Peace Rene Hindley requested why Khan had taken a photograph holding Connor when he visited the Haskin house, Orrie stated, “He wished to indicate that he doesn’t have a problem with disabled folks.”
A number of dad and mom and youngsters, wearing blue and white Warrior on Wheels Foundation T-shirts, confirmed their help for Haskin and Connor by attending the listening to. Warrior on Wheels Basis is Cape City based mostly and supplies journey actions for disabled youngsters.
Founder Deirdré Gower stated, “Liezel is standing up for the rights of her baby and believes that each individual no matter their means ought to have the identical entry as everyone else. She’s talking on behalf of all of us as a result of in some unspecified time in the future in our lives we’ve all been discriminated in opposition to and skilled locations the place we’ve not been allowed in.” Gower attended proceedings together with her 21-year-old son Damian who has Spastic Quadriplegia.
One other dad or mum, Sameera Gamiet, stated: “I’ve a bit of boy, who’s 5 as effectively. He has cerebral palsy. He’s not in a position to stroll both and makes use of a buggy as effectively. Despite the fact that I’m not a single mother, I do commute alone with him more often than not. I’m with him more often than not. It was vital to attend right this moment to face with one other mother as a result of we all know precisely the way it feels.”
Judgment will probably be handed down on 14 February. DM