The Carlton Centre mall

Carlton Centre management has apologised unreservedly for the reported attack by its staff on a lesbian woman who kissed her girlfriend at the mall in central Johannesburg.

The Star had previously reported on the June 13 incident which occurred after Bonisiwe Mtshali (29), who works at the centre, gave her girlfriend Khanyisa Ndoda (21) a goodbye kiss.

“I accompany her to work every morning… and every morning I give her a goodbye kiss,” Ndoda told the newspaper.

Three Carlton Centre security guards, from Hlanganani Protection Services, responded by insulting the women.

When Mtshali confronted them over their comments, they allegedly began to kick and hit her. “I was traumatised, I didn’t know what to do,” said Ndoda, who watched helplessly.

The women were then taken to the security office where Mtshali collapsed while foaming at the mouth. An ambulance, which the security guards initially refused to call, was called after an hour. She regained consciousness three hours later.

Carlton Centre spokesperson Mboniso Sigonyela told SAPA on Monday: “We have learnt with regret about the unfortunate incident and wish to apologise unreservedly to the lady and the public.”

He said that a full investigation would be launched, which would include consultation with the victim.

Assault charges were laid at the Johannesburg Central police station, which advised the women to drop them as they would be expensive to pursued.

The couple nevertheless persevered and are being assisted with their legal fees by the Forum For the Empowerment of Women (FEW).

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