The Carlton Centre

A security guard found guilty of beating a lesbian woman at the Carlton Centre after she kissed her girlfriend has received a fine.

On June 13, Bonisiwe Mtshali (29) was insulted with anti-gay slurs and physical beaten by three security guards after she gave her girlfriend Khanyisa Ndoda (21) a goodbye kiss at the Johannesburg mall.

She was reportedly unconscious for three hours following the brutal attack by the Hlanganani Protection Services guards.

On Tuesday, one of the men was found guilty of assault, with the court noting that his actions were informed by his prejudice on the basis of the sexual orientation of the women.

Despite the severity and prejudiced nature of the attack he was given a mere R4000 fine or four months in prison.

According to the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW), which supported Mtshali throughout her ordeal, only one of the security guards was found guilty of the charge as the other two were not included in the police’s statement.

This despite Mtshali insisting, both while laying the charges and in court, that the other two men were also involved.

After the sentencing, Mtshali commented that she is “not happy about the verdict but at least something has been done”.

Dikeledi Sibanda, Projects Organiser at FEW, told Mambaonline that they would be assisting Mtshali to return to the police station to lay charges against the other two security guards.

She said that while FEW was also not satisfied with the outcome of the case, “this is one of the first cases in many that we deal with of homophobic attacks that has got to a stage of sentencing”.

“[Mtshali] has physically recovered from the attack,” added Sibanda, “but not emotionally, especially after yesterday’s verdict”.

Mtshali will face further trauma next year. One of the security guards has laid assault charges against her, alleging that she first attacked him. That case is set to be heard in January.

Attempts to contact Hlanganani Protection Services were unsuccessful.

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