Cape Town – A Cape Flats frailcare worker says she was arrested for theft, assaulted by cops and thrown into a police cell after being wrongfully accused of stealing a diamond ring worth R20 000 at a posh retirement village.
The 46-year-old woman says she was fired and now wants to clear her name after the theft case was thrown out of court.
The only evidence against her was the word of an 82-year-old Alzheimer’s patient, she says.
The Steenberg woman, who asked not to be identified, says she worked at Cle Du Cap Healthcare Centre in Kirstenhof for nearly three years.
She says her nightmare began on 3 January when she was instructed to wash and dress the 82-year-old.
“The daily tasks would be washing the person, sometimes feeding those who are too frail and even changing their nappies,” explains the woman.
“On that day, I washed the woman and dressed her and spent about 20 minutes inside her room. I took her to the breakfast table at 8am.
“On 7 January, the unit manager called me while I was on leave and said she needed to speak to me.”
The woman says at the office she was told she’d been caught on camera entering the old woman’s room, and a diamond ring had been stolen from her finger.
“I told the manager I didn’t take the ring and didn’t even see a ring that day,” the carer says.
She says 10 days later she was made to take a lie detector test.
“I felt good about the test because I had nothing to hide,” she says.
“But when I came from the offices in Claremont, two detectives were waiting for me at Kirstenhof.
“They took me to Wynberg Police Station where I was photographed and fingerprinted.
“I was interviewed by a female cop who demanded I say what I did with the ring.
“When I said I didn’t take it, she began smacking me. I was crying so much; I was so shocked. I am a grandmother. I don’t even know how the ring looks.”
She says she was thrown into a cell and was allowed to call her husband, who managed to get her out on R500 bail.
On 20 January, the mom of two was due to appear at the Wynberg Magistrates’ Court for a charge of theft, but was informed by the prosecutor that the matter was nolle prosequi, meaning there was not enough evidence.
The Daily Voice has seen the charge sheet which the carer took to her employer the next day in order to be reinstated at her job.
Instead, she was issued with a suspension letter and charged with “theft / dishonest conduct. In that on Thursday 03 January 2019 you allegedly removed (name of resident’s) ring from her finger without her knowledge or permission”.
A disciplinary hearing was held on 24 January where the carer was found guilty on all charges and dismissed on 29 January.
“I have now taken it up with the CCMA (Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration). I have told them I want full compensation. They have humiliated me,” the woman says.
On Sunday, the unit manager at the home, Freda Moodley, refused to comment, referring queries to their Human Resources department.
“I have informed management and I cannot speak further on this matter,” she said.
On Monday, a Human Resource officer who identified himself only as Craig also refused to comment, claiming the only person who was able to do so had been in a car accident earlier that morning.