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Johannesburg - An allegedly drunk Oscar Pistorius was involved in an altercation with a Joburg businessman at an upmarket Sandton club after the “Blade Runner” made disparaging comments about his friends and insulted President Jacob Zuma’s family.
Just a few hours later, Pistorius broke his five-month Twitter silence by posting three photos which were laced with religious and motivational messages.
Jared Mortimer was in the VIP section of The VIP Room, an upmarket club in the Michaelangelo Towers Mall, on Saturday when he met Pistorius.
The club hosted an exclusive birthday party event called the Superhero Squad, which featured Pretty Filthy, a DJ, and Byron Ryan. Many of the clubbers wore superhero costumes.
Mortimer told The Star on Monday that curtains in the VIP section were drawn so that nobody could see Pistorius was there.
He said he was introduced to Pistorius by Guil Yahav, a former bouncer turned professional poker player who made headlines in 2002 for his role in a vicious murder. He was implicated in the killing of another bouncer, Patrick Caetano, and was eventually fined R10 000 for serious assault.
Mortimer said Yahav asked him if he knew Pistorius. “Oscar said to me ‘oh you are the notorious Jared Mortimer’. I had an issue with one of Oscar’s friends about three years ago. He must have known me because of that,” Mortimer said.
He said the two of them began talking about the people they knew and Pistorius told him that he had been “screwed over” by his (Mortimer’s) friends. “He mentioned photos that were used in the trial. I said I didn’t know them because I hadn’t followed the trial that closely,” Mortimer said.
“Then he started talking about some of my friends and he said he had statements and evidence that would get my friends into trouble. But he wouldn’t use it because he wasn’t that kind of person. He was drunk, but not bad. We were drinking tequila and I still remember putting down my drink and thinking I couldn’t drink it while my friends were being spoken of like that,” Mortimer said.
In his original bail conditions, Pistorius had to be supervised at all times and was not allowed to drink. But he appealed the conditions and these were relaxed, including the ban on alcohol.
Mortimer said the conversation went on to contracts Pistorius said he was working on, at which point he allegedly insulted Zuma’s family.
“I took that personally because I am very good friends with a member of the Zuma family,” he said.
Mortimer said Pistorius started poking him in the chest and was forceful. “He was poking me and saying that I would never get the better of him. He was close to my face and at that point I pushed him to get him away from me. A chair was behind his legs and he fell to the ground,” Mortimer said.
He said bouncers helped pick Pistorius up. “A little bit later he had a confrontation with another man and the bouncers were asked to please remove him because he was causing trouble,” Mortimer said.
Three other people who were at the party corraborated Mortimer’s allegations. They asked to remain anonymous.
Pistorius family spokeswoman Anneliese Burgess confirmed Pistorius was at the club with one of his cousins and that he was involved in an argument.
“They sat in a quiet area of the private VIP section when they were approached by the individual you have identified as Mr Mortimer.
“The individual in question, according to my client, started to aggressively engage him on matters relating to the trial. An argument ensued during which (Pistorius) asked to be left alone. Oscar left soon thereafter with his cousin. Our client regrets the decision to go into a public place and thereby inviting unwelcome attention,” said Burgess.
After sending several SMSes and phone calls, the owner of the VIP Room Chris Coutroulis said he was overseas and waiting for a report from his managers on the incident.
Mortimer claimed Pistorius tried to call him on Sunday morning but he ignored the calls. It was the same day that Pistorius tweeted three pictures.
A man who was in the club, who spoke to The Star on condition of anonymity, said he was walking down the stairs with a friend when he saw a scuffle near the VIP section. “I said to my friend ‘check over there, there’s a fight’,” the man said.
He said he saw people holding men apart. “I recognised Mortimer,” he said.
The man said he and his friend stood and watched when the other man who he described as “flat-out drunk” and wearing a straight peak cap came towards them.
“He came up to us and pulled zap signs in our faces. That’s when I realised it was Pistorius.”
He said Pistorius left the club with an entourage of people.