/ 19 January 2015

Restaurant owner dismisses racist comment allegations

Paul Da Silva
Paul Da Silva

Paul Da Silva, the owner of Spetada restaurant in Rosebank, has dismissed claims that he hurled racist insults at two black women when they confronted him over a billing issue.

Speaking to the Mail & Guardian, Da Silva accused the ladies of pushing him in the kitchen, and said that one of them had claimed to work for the Sunday Times, and had threatened to “make [Da Silva] pay”.

What began with the alleged discovery of a ‘small cockroach’ on a plate of food has led to the filing of a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).

Friends Lesedi Moche, Mmabatho Kau, Karabo Lediga and Thato Mogotsi were having lunch at Spetada when Moche noticed what looked like a small cockroach underneath her lamb chop.

According to Kau, Moche called the floor manager to complain about the meal. The meal was sent back and later the floor manager offered her another meal, which Moche declined.

In an email seen by the M&G, Moche said that when it was time for her friends to pay the bill, they noticed that the returned meal had not been removed from the bill.

“After some time I had to leave and I left my friends, who continued with their afternoon at the establishment. When they were ready to leave and called [for] the bill, they noticed that my meal – which I had returned with the little cockroach – was on the bill,” reads Moche’s email.

She said at that point her friends asked to speak to the floor manager to have the meal removed from the bill.

Get the f*ck out of my kitchen
According to Moche and Kau, the floor manager told them that she can’t remove the bill because she would then have to pay for it out of her own pocket.

Kau says that is when she decided to speak to the owner of the restaurant “with a specific intention”.   

Mogotsi and Kau approached Da Silva in the kitchen where – according to Kau – he proceeded to swear at them, accusing them of not wanting to pay.

Kau alleges that Da Silva said: “Get the f*ck out of my kitchen. What all you black girls need is a good shagging … All you black girls need a f*ck.”

Speaking to the M&G, Da Silva said Mogotsi and Kau had told maNtombi – the floor manager – they didn’t “want to speak to you; we want to speak to the white manager”. Da Silva said this didn’t sit well with him.

Moche has laid a complaint with the SAHRC against Da Silva.