South Africa News

News that impact on the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer communities of South Africa

Spur In Anti Gay Row

7 June 2016

Over in South Africa, the local Spur restaurant chain has responded to allegations of homophobia after five out and proud gay men claimed to have been mistreated at its Sunnypark branch in Pretoria because they were homosexual.

In a statement, Spur’s digital marketing manager Ryan Haworth said the men kicked Sunnypark manager Nelson Gambule and called a waitress a racist, Rekord East reported.

“The customers in question visited Golden Canyon Spur at 9:40am, and were seated in the smoking section.

“They requested alcohol be served to them while they were eating their breakfast and were declined as [alcohol is not served] until 10:00. This displeased the customers. At 10:00, the customers ordered alcohol and by the time the incident took place, had ordered six bottles of wine.

“Upon the payment of the bill, Spur staff noticed one customer on top of another, kissing and groping, behaving in a manner that is considered publicly inappropriate, regardless of sexual preferences.

“Other customers from two different tables, complained to management about the inappropriate behaviour, upon which the manager approached the customers, asking them to cease.

“Our female manager was met with verbal threats, [accused] of being a racist and homophobe. The customers indicated that they would get the manager fired – I’ll make sure you lose your job – was the verbatim threat.”

Haworth added the waitress, who also happened to be gay, was helped by the manager who then alerted the mall security.

“The customers continued to physically and verbally attack our female manager in front of the mall security. Our manager was then kicked and pushed by these male customers. Mall security then escorted them out of Spur and the mall. Mall security is willing to sign affidavits stating the events that transpired.

“Spur is a family restaurant and treats all patrons equally regardless of sexuality or race; we are well represented by the gay community both in our head office and franchisees. We are accepting and welcoming to all, however do not tolerate our staff being mistreated and abused in any manner.

Spur CEO Pierre van Tonder said the incident was investigated by the restaurant. He could not clarify why there was no video footage of the incident.

“People cannot behave like that at Spur, it’s not a nightclub but it is a family restaurant,” van Tonder said.

One of the victims, Tshegofatso Mpahlele, 26, denied the allegations and said he was seeking legal advice.

“Apparently we were violent. Even if they release video footage, they cannot show where we were violent. I met up with OUT LGBTI and we are taking the legal route,” Mphahlele said.

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