PICTOU — Rallies are being organized in Pictou and Halifax in support of Nhlanhla Dlamini this week.
The local rally is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday in front of the Pictou Justice Centre in downtown Pictou.
It follows a meeting at the Ward I Centre in New Glasgow that resulted in a march from there to the Africentre pyramid on Vale Road in New Glasgow to support him on Thanksgiving Monday.
The events have come in response to an incident on September 19 when Dlamini was shot in the back with a nail gun at a construction site where he was working in Abercrombie.
RCMP arrested a 43-year-old man in connection with the shooting and charged him on October 5 with criminal negligence causing bodily harm.
Dlamini’s mother Stacey Dlamini wrote a letter to the editor that was sent on October 9 to The Advocate and copied to PQ Propeties Ltd. owner Paul Quinn and his lawyer Craig Clarke asking for a public apology for remarks by Quinn that made light of the incident.
She said her family was “greatly offended” by the position taken by Quinn through his lawyer that her son’s injury was “not serious.”
She described the four days her son spent in hospital undergoing surgery on a punctured and collapsed lung and expressed appreciation for the wide-spread support her family has received upon learning about the incident.
“Our son’s story has the potential to spark many positive conversations that can bring change as once again we are forced to confront the issue of racism in our community, and this is indeed our hope,” she said.
She asked for the community to refrain from “name-calling and personal attacks” against Quinn and the accused.
Clarke responded on October 10 with a statement on behalf of Quinn’s firm indicating: PQ Properties Ltd.” has policies in place respecting workplace safety as well as harassment and bullying” and that the firm denounces “any discriminatory behavior of any kind in the strongest terms.”
It said “it was certainly not our intent to minimize Mr. Dlamini’s injury and we certainly apologize for any misunderstanding in this regard. Unfortunately at the time of our initial statement to the media, our spokesperson was unaware that the injury had progressed significantly from what was noted at the job site.”
It noted that the company has shut down job sites due to threats to employees as part of the reaction to the shooting.
It was noted that Nhlanhla Dlamini made no report “alleging unsafe working conditions and/or harassment and/or bullying prior to the incident on September 19” and that there would have been an investigation had a report been received.
The statement also noted Dlamini’s refusal to the company’s offer to take him to the hospital. Instead, the emergency contact he had given the company was advised of the incident and they drove Dlamini to the hospital.
“PQ Properties did not transport Mr. Dlamini to the hospital as Mr. Dlamini is 21 years of age and was clear in his direction that he did not wish to seek medical treatment,” according to the statement. “His direction must be respected by the employer. His request was listened to and respected.”
It said from Quinn’s perspective on the afternoon of the incident, “we had no indication from Mr. Dlamini or any other witness present that anything other than a workplace accident had occurred.”