Woman claims she was ‘headbutted’ by waiter during tussle at popular Cape Town restaurant

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A waiter has been suspended from Cape Town’s popular Life Grand Cafe after a customer said she was headbutted there, the restaurant said on Tuesday. 

“The waiter has been suspended pending the outcome of the [South African Police Service] investigation,” it said in a statement to News24.

“Also note, there are a series of events that are being investigated. We offered whatever assistance we could at the time and in view of the fact that there are still investigations pending, we cannot deal with the balance of your queries at this stage.”

The restaurant said it had video footage of “an unfortunate incident with a belligerent and disruptive customer who was making the experience of other patrons and staff unbearable”. 

“We tried to placate the customer and resolve the situation but failed to do so. 

“We are willing to put forth any required evidence, including surveillance footage, to corroborate our version of events and will be cooperating with the authorities with respect to the investigation as we do not support violence.” 

Confrontation

This came after Mamela Billie told News24 that she was in the restroom when she heard there was an issue involving her friend in another part of the popular double-storey dining spot at the V&A Waterfront.

She went to investigate and witnessed a confrontation between her friend and a staff member. 

Billie said in the process of trying to establish what was going on, she was allegedly headbutted by a waiter.

A picture shows her with a swollen lip.

She told News24 that her muscles felt stiff from the pushing and pulling during the confrontation. 

“I am so traumatised. I have never been assaulted in my life,” said Billie. 

She added that she considered her friend’s issue a separate matter, and still does not completely understand what led to the problem with her friend. 

However, Billie said she was upset that this could happen at a restaurant she liked and regularly went to.  

“I enjoy Life Grand, that’s why I went there.” 

She reported the matter to police but felt that the restaurant had tried to sweep it under the carpet and treated it like a “minor incident”, with no apology or sign of remorse. 

Assault

In addition, during all the “screaming”, three other patrons also chimed in and started shouting at her, Billie said.

Police spokesperson Siyabulela Malo said two cases of common assault were registered following an incident between 21:30 and 22:00 on Sunday.

“According to reports, two complainants were involved in an argument with two personnel of the restaurant. Circumstances surrounding this incident are being investigated with no arrests made so far.”

Billie said her friend had reported her own complaint against a waitress regarding the first incident that she was not privy to, and she had reported her own complaint against the waiter.

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