Statement from Brian Coppin, CEO of Food Lover’s Market

“I have seen the video of the incident at the Food Lover’s Market Lenasia store and I am absolutely shocked and horrified that a team member was violently assaulted in this way. I do not condone this behaviour at all and condemn the use of violence in any instance. It is not in line with my personal beliefs nor with Food Lover’s Market’s company culture or values. It is also certainly not representative of how we treat our colleagues.

Many people have been asking about the exact details that led to the incident and, while there are assertions that we have not responded for comment – I refer you to the statements we issued earlier this week:

There is an ongoing internal investigation, which will culminate in an internal disciplinary inquiry, running parallel to criminal charges which are being pursued by the South African Police Service and National Prosecuting Authority. As this is an ongoing investigation, we have chosen not to disclose the details of the case as we need to be fair to all parties concerned and disclosing these details may jeopardise the outcome of these processes.

However, we have already dealt very decisively with this matter internally and we have replaced the entire senior management team at that store.

We have decided that all disciplinary hearings will be chaired by an independent external party and appropriate and correct disciplinary measures will be actioned where needed.

We are also implementing a wider investigation to gain a deeper understanding of the systemic issues that gave rise to the incident in the store. We have already undertaken a process of continued engagement with team members at the Lenasia store to offer reassurance and support.

This is fundamental to ensuring that this does not happen again and that we continue to foster a culture of mutual respect between colleagues, throughout the business.