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Cops investigating after argument over tiles gets physical

The altercation was caught on CCTV footage

Nomkita Fule, 24, says she was manhandled in a Build It store during an argument with a manager
Nomkita Fule, 24, says she was manhandled in a Build It store during an argument with a manager
Image: Eugene Coetzee

A squabble over a special on tiles led to a physical fight between a Build It manager and a customer – with police now investigating the incident.

Six-months-pregnant Nomkita Fule, 24, alleges she was manhandled and thrown out of the Daku Build It store in Kwazakhele after a heated argument with a manager on Tuesday.

Fule went to the store last week to buy tiles, but was told there was no stock.

She returned at about midday on Tuesday to ask again about the tiles and this was when the fight broke out.

The altercation was captured on CCTV, and the footage has been seen by The Herald.

It shows an argument erupting after a five-minute conversation between Fule and the manager, Matthew Stock, who is sitting on a raised platform that overlooks the store.

Stock gets up from his desk and approaches Fule, who is standing on the third step of the platform, and grabs her by the arm.

A screen-grab from the incident captured by a CCTV camera
A screen-grab from the incident captured by a CCTV camera
A screen-grab from the incident captured by a CCTV camera
A screen-grab from the incident captured by a CCTV camera

Fule stumbles backwards and grabs the side of the platform.

A friend of Fule’s, standing on the step below her, stops her fall and pushes her forward as Fule grabs onto Stock’s arm.

Other store employees rush to assist as a fight erupts between the pair.

When the fight is broken up, Fule can be seen trying to get around an employee who had jumped between the two.

A security official escorts her from the shop after things calm down.

As she leaves, she hits a 25-litre paint drum, knocking it over.

Fule said: “I saw the specials so I went there to buy items for my mother’s house.

“When I was there last week, I inquired about the items and the manager explained that the items on special were not at the store.

“I found this strange as I saw the exact items [in the store] and even pointed them out.

“They persisted and told me that they were going to get the stock from another store.

“So I bought a toilet and left. They failed to get back to me, so I went there on Tuesday to follow up.”

Fule was accompanied by a friend, Melezwa Mfuniselo, 30.
“The manager was very rude [and] the story had changed,” Fule said.

“I was told the price was per square metre and not for the box.

“I told them they did not tell me this last week [and] I was going to inquire with the regional office.

“It was fairly calm until I asked for his name so I could reference him when I inquired. This was when he became very aggressive.

“He then told me to ask someone else in the shop for his name.

“When I refused, he got up from his desk and pushed me.

“As I fell backwards, my friend managed to grab me, which stopped me from landing on the floor.

“As I went backwards, I grabbed him [the manager] which is when the fight started.”

Fule said that, at that point, staff had run in to break up the fight.

“Someone grabbed me by my neck and pinned me against the wall while the other man [an employee] was between us trying to stop the fight.

“I could not breathe. Someone came to my aid and managed to get me outside.

“There was blood on my hands and my legs are bruised.”

A squabble over a special on tiles led to a physical fight between a Build It manager and a customer – with police now investigating the incident.

Fule went to the police station – which is next to the Build It store – and then to the doctor.

Stock refused to comment, referring all questions to Build It Daku managing director Jeff Maas who refuted Fule’s claims, saying she had in fact attacked his staff.

“I heard people speaking loudly and lots of screaming and swearing.

“The woman was swearing and screaming at the top of her lungs.

“I ran out of my office [which is upstairs and overlooks the raised platform] to look what was happening.

“All I saw was this woman trying to hit my staff and then the people trying to separate them.

“I asked security to intervene and she was escorted out,” he said.

“The issue was over her wanting to buy a box of tiles at the per metre price.

“My staff said she refused to leave and was swearing at them.

“That is when he [Stock] tried to simply usher her out. That is when it became physical.

“Two of my staff have cuts and bruises. One’s glasses are broken from her punching him.”

Maas said he welcomed an investigation and the case should run its course.

“Afterwards, I went outside to see if I could find her to get her side of the story, but she had gone.”

Police spokesman Captain Andre Beetge said a case of assault common was being investigated.

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