Court told of brutal beard attack

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Copy of beard killing

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Roedolf Viviers and Zain van Tonder, arrested after the assault and death of Fayaad Kazi, a Muslim, appear at their bail application in the Krugersdorp Magistrates Court. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

Johannesburg - He was slapped and punched until he collapsed. And as Fayaad Kazi lay on the ground bleeding, the attack continued. He was kicked in the abdomen and head. As he groaned in pain on the ground, his attacker trampled on him.

The 27-year-old man was saved from further beating by a passer-by who intervened.

His cousin Anser Mahmood, who was also attacked, bundled him into a car, intending to take him to a police station to open a case.

But Kazi’s condition deteriorated so radically that they rushed straight to hospital. On the way, he got worse and also vomited. Although he was immediately admitted, the serious injuries from the attack led to his death the following day.

These are the allegations the State put before the Krugersdorp Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday during Roedolf Viviers’s bail application.

He has been charged with murder and assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm.

His friend Zain van Tonder, who was with him that day, faces a count of common assault for allegedly attacking Mahmood. The State suggested he be released on R2 000 bail.

Mahmood and Kazi were beaten after getting into an altercation with Viviers and Van Tonder, who had allegedly made racist remarks about the cousins.

Warrant Officer Hennie Janse van Rensburg testified that both Viviers and Van Tonder had looked at Kazi and Mahmood and said: “These people behind us look like Osama bin Laden.”

To look like Bin Laden, Janse van Rensburg said, one needed to be of Indian or Pakistani descent and have a long beard.

Asked by magistrate Reginald Dama why he thought what Van Tonder and Viviers had said was discriminatory, the officer responded: “Osama is a terrorist and I don’t think any person would like to be called that person’s name or told they look like him.”

Viviers, 28, in an affidavit read by his lawyer Sakkie Smith, said he was confident of his innocence.

He took care of his 62-year-old mother, 23-year-old fiancée and her four-year old son, all of whom would suffer financially if he was not granted bail.

Iqbal Jassat, on behalf of the community, told of a huge uproar since Kazi’s killing.

He said Kazi was killed for looking like someone who was seen to be an embodiment of evil.

“That is how he [Bin Laden] is portrayed, and the political campaign launched to hunt him down reinforced the view that he represented a belief system that is evil and that is what makes Muslims offended.”

Although she gave birth last week, Van Tonder’s fiancée, Vicky Nielsen, was in court on Tuesday, fighting back tears.

Speaking outside court, Nielsen said:

“I don’t think this was racial.

“The media has made them [Van Tonder and Viviers] out to be monsters but they are very chilled people. I feel sorry for the Kazis, but it was an accident. I give my condolences.” Judgment on the application was to be given today. - The Star

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