Tasneem Botha was enjoying a day of shopping with her mother and new-born child at Edgars, Cavendish Square - until she was asked to leave for changing and breast-feeding her baby in public.
I had my five-week-old baby with me and she had woken up and needed to be fed and changed. I quickly changed her and wanted to breastfeed her, because she was obviously hungry.— Tasneem Botha, Breastfeeding mom kicked out of Edgars Cavendish Square
Botha explained that she was told by store manager that she had to leave the store immediately and find a change room in the mall to feed her infant.
Botha says she thought it would be acceptable because she found a quite corner in the store, which was still relatively empty at 10 AM.
As I was walking out of the store, two other staff members thought it was funny and mocked me and the way I walked out of the store with a crying baby.— Tasneem Botha, Breastfeeding mom kicked out of Edgars Cavendish Square
I left the store immediately, because she was screaming. No one told me where the changing rooms where, so I ended up feeding her on the bench outside Edgars.— Tasneem Botha, Breastfeeding mom kicked out of Edgars Cavendish Square
Tasneem says she did get a phone call from the Edgars store manager apologising for her treatment. But the manager stuck to her guns, telling her breastfeeding in store is not allowed in terms of store policy as men have reported finding it uncomfortable.
Edcon Group have released a statement saying they are in discussions to ensure this does not happen in any of the Group's stores again. Listen to the full statement.
Statement from Edcon Group:
Edcon is aware of the recent incident that took place at Edcon’s EdgarsCavendish relating to breastfeeding in the store. As an organisation, we takethe issue and conduct of our employees very seriously. Edcon fully understandsand respects the needs of mothers, many of us being mothers ourselves. Edconis, at the most senior level of management in the group, discussing this issueand steps to ensure that this does not occur in any of the group’s storesagain. This is an opportunity for all stores within the Edcon group toimprove, advance and formalise its policies , processes and plans foraccommodation regarding breastfeeding in stores and to provide furthereducation to our staff. As a family department store, we welcome families intoall our stores and our aim is to ensure all customers have a happy andcomfortable shopping experience. Furthermore, and as part of this processwe are engaging various stakeholders, including Breastfeeding advocacy groups,and are working with them to improve our internal processes. Edcon hasapologised to Ms Botha for the manner in which this was handled by ouremployee.
Edcon CEO, Bernie Brookes added: “Edcon welcomes families into all ourstores and we have no issues with Breastfeeding in our stores. We will soonstart an in-house training and educational programme to ensure that our valuedcustomers are reassured they have the support of the Edcon team in thesesituations, and that our customers will not be treated unfairly. We apologisefor the wrongful actions of one team member and we will ensure all staffsupport guests in our stores if they wish to breastfeed their children. Weacknowledge that many of our customers need support in these instances, and weneed to understand how we do this properly and effectively going forward, in support of our customers”.
Listen to the full conversation:
Breastfeeding advocate, Anel Olsson says that a nurse-in protest event will be held in response on Sunday at the Edgars store.
Can't believe what am hearing on @CapeTalk Mum told by store that men are uncomfortable with women breastfeeding in public.Isn't this 2016?— Melissa Volker (@MissyAnnV) March 9, 2016