Woman disabled by pitbull fights for employment


    An East London domestic worker who lost her right arm after being savaged by her employer’s pitbull terrier has spoken out about the horrific ordeal for the first time.

    Not only did Nonceba Thelma Mantshiyane lose her arm but she now stands to lose her job.

    RECOVERING: Nonceba Mantshiyane, who was mauled by her employer’s pitbull, has been discharged from hospital and is recovering at home Picture: SIBONGILE NGALWA
    RECOVERING: Nonceba Mantshiyane, who was mauled by her employer’s pitbull, has been discharged from hospital and is recovering at home Picture: SIBONGILE NGALWA

    Mantshiyane has been told by her employer she will not receive her monthly salary for much longer and should apply for a disability grant.

    Once she receives her grant she will no longer be paid her salary.

    “My employer said she no longer has money to pay me. She said I must apply for a grant so that I can support myself,? said Mantshiyane.

    She has worked for the Cambridge couple for 14 years.

    Efforts to contact them for comment were unsuccessful yesterday as numerous phone calls and a text went unanswered.

    The dog attacked Mantshiyane on June 8 when she tried to save the family’s tortoise from the pitbull.

    She relived the ordeal during a Daily Dispatch visit to her family home in Newlands yesterday.

    “The tortoise lived in the front of the house and the dogs lived in the back. There is a small gate separating the back and front and it was left open by people who were building a wall in the yard, that is how the tortoise got to the back.?

    Asked why she risked her life for the animal, she said: “I did not think things would turn the way they did. Those dogs grew up in front of me. I fed them every day for years, I thought they knew me.?

    She said while Cane the pitbull was biting her on the face and arm, Roxy the chihuahua had licked her wounds.

    “The attack started at 2.30pm and lasted until 4pm. I lay face down and felt Cane eating at me. It was as if I was being slaughtered by a knife.

    “He continued biting me until he was left with my bones to chew.

    “Suddenly I heard a small voice inside me saying I must pretend as if I was dead. That was when I stopped breathing. Only my mind was working. He let go of me and lay next to me. I just lay there motionless because I knew if I moved he was going to finish me off.?

    FATEFUL DAY: Nonceba in hospital
    FATEFUL DAY: Nonceba in hospital

    The next thing she remembers is being on a stretcher in an ambulance. She was taken to Frere Hospital where she spent two months.

    In addition to losing her arm she has a large scar on her face. The dog was euthanased.

    East London labour lawyer Johnny Goldberg of Global Business Solutions said she should be accommodated by her employer despite her wounds. “The application for a disability grant is a separate process and it has nothing to do with the employment relationship, which can only be terminated via a substantive procedural process under schedule 8 of the code of good practice of the Labour Relations Act.

    “The employer must follow a process, whether [Mantshiyane] lost her right arm or leg. There has to be an alternative – for example how much of a job can she do if she was injured on duty?

    “If that fails then there is a process in the act that employers have to follow,? Goldberg said.

    He said if all else failed she could approach the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

    East London dog trainer Jenny Swart of the Border Dog Club said: “A lot of people get these dogs (pitbulls) from a young age and keep them in the back garden. They don’t train them socially.? She said in the event of a pitbull attack “you must make yourself small?.

    “Avoid eye contact – if you look at the dog it takes that as a challenge. Don’t face the dog, turn sideways. Fold your arms into your body.?

    She said sadly this advice would only work with socialised dogs.

    “We do puppy training at eight weeks and 16 weeks. The first 16 weeks in a puppy’s life is the most important time to socialise them and teach them correct things.? — zwangam@dispatch.co.za


    1. Pit bulls NEVER make appropriate pets, as much as many people would love to pretend that they do. Ms. Swart and others just like her, in a good position to warn people regarding fighting breed dogs as pets, continue daily to propagate the myth that its all in how you raise them. Sadly, well-raised, well-loved, well-socialized pit bulls frequently maim and kill even their own human family members. Owners of pit bulls whose pit bulls go on to maim or kill need to be dealt with by civil suit and criminal charges. Owners of pit bulls have got to be made to realize that fighting breed grippers do not belong in the home. WHEN are rescue organizations going to get real regarding this unpredictable and often deadly breed? WHEN are pit bull rescue organizations going to put the potential human and animal victims of pit bulls before their own selfish need to save every single dog? I hope this lady finds the relief which she is looking for. She now belongs to a worldwide club of people who have lost arms/legs to pit bull attacks. It is not a club anyone should have to become a member of.

    2. This woman needs to get a lawyer and sue these employers, not try to get her job back. Screw working for these scumbags and their nasty vicious dogs.

    3. I know of a house in NU7 Mdantsane where there are at least 20 pitbulls in one yard. And this house had no fencing for many years & is in front of the main road in that unit