Man recounts horrific ordeal

George Kabanda is recovering at the Burns Unit at Tygerberg Hospital.
A Zimbabwean man living in Goodwood was left with extensive burns across his body after his boss allegedly threw boiling water at him after a misunderstanding in late December last year.

Goodwood police are investigating an assault.

George Kabanda, 41, said he had been working on a part-time basis for the owner of a transportation company since 2013.

“I am a builder by trade but I would sometimes help him out as a driver when he needed one,” he said.

At the time of the altercation, Mr Kabanda had been staying in the backyard of his boss’s house. 

He told the Northern News that he had paid R1 000 a month to stay there.

Mr Kabanda said while he and a few other workers were out on a job with the man’s wife on Saturday December 29, he moved a bicycle to clear space in front of a client’s home.

“The wife then accused me of trying to steal the bicycle because she saw me move it to the side. I denied it but then she told the client who then smacked me. I didn’t react. I just kept quiet. I didn’t want to create anymore trouble,” he said.

He said when they returned to the company’s offices, the owner asked to see him. “When I entered his office; he turned around and threw me with three litres of boiling water. I was shocked. I didn’t know what to do. He also accused me of stealing but I had not taken anything,” he said.

Mr Kabanda managed to flag down a taxi along Voortrekker Road and went to Goodwood police station.

“I was in so much pain and all I wanted to do was open a case and go to the hospital. The police said I should wait for the ambulance. After two hours; a good Samaritan offered to take me to Elsies River Day Hospital. I have burns on my chest, face, legs, arms, back and on my private parts,” he said.

Mr Kabanda was transferred to the Burns Unit at Tygerberg Hospital on Sunday December 30.

When the Northern News visited Mr Kabanda at Tygerberg Hospital last week he was still in a lot of pain. “They just changed my dressing. It usually hurts a lot after they are done. I am in pain but I am doing much better,” he said.

Mr Kabanda said Parow police came to take his statement on Friday January 4. “Goodwood police called on Thursday January 10 to say that they had visited the man’s premises but had not been able to locate him,” he said.

Mr Kabanda, who is originally from Zimbabwe, said he can’t believe that someone could do this to him. “I feel so bad. I never thought these people would do this to me. He is a very cruel man. He treated me badly before so I was hesitant to work for him again but he told me he had changed and that his faith helped him to do so,” he said.

Rozaun Botes, spokeswoman for Tygerberg Hospital, said Mr Kabanda was in a stable condition after being brought to the hospital on Sunday December 30.

Asked when he would be discharged Ms Botes said: “He might be discharged next week. He will require occupational therapy afterwards that lasts about a year or two, sometimes three depending on the scarring”.

The Northern News tried to contact the owner of the transportation company on several occasions by calling his cellphone and landline numbers and also send an email to the company requesting comment to Mr Kabanda’s allegations without success.

Captain Kevin Williams, spokesman for Parow police, said a case of assault with the intent to grievous bodily harm was opened at Parow police.  The case was, however, transferred to Goodwood police station  last week because the incident happened closer to that station. The incident is currently under investigation.