Cape Town - The mother of the first-year college student who was beaten into a coma at the weekend said her son’s condition was not improving.
Jean Lambrechts, 19, was out with friends in Edward Street in Bellville in the early hours of Saturday, heading towards Stones, a club and pool hall.
While moving through an underground car park Lambrechts and his four friends were apparently intercepted by a gang of eight men. Lambrechts’s friend, Juan Strydom, said the men were well-dressed and “seemed like they had been at the clubs”. The men immediately started threatening them.
“The big guy pulled off his shirt and asked us if we wanted to start something,” he said.
When Lambrechts intervened to try to calm things down he reportedly caught a punch on the jaw.
“They stomped on his head twice, I could see him lying on the ground and they just kept kicking him,” said Strydom. Then the gang descended on him and he was forced to defend himself.
Lambrechts was rushed to hospital, where doctors discovered he had bleeding into the brain. During an emergency operation, in which his skull was opened, two clots of blood were removed.
His mother, Henrieta Sauer, said he had not opened his eyes or spoken a word since the incident.
Apart from a small reduction in the swelling on his face, the Prestige Academy student had shown no signs of improvement. And now he was running a fever of 39ºC (normal is 37ºC).
Sauer and her daughter have been staying at the hospital, trying everything to get a response from her son, from talking to him to tickling his feet.
“I would give anything just to have him open his eyes,” said Sauer. “If he has other problems after that, I can deal with that. I can walk down that road with him.”
Sauer said she wanted to thank everyone for their messages of support.
“I’m getting SMSes from complete strangers and they are helping me through this terrible time.”
Meanwhile, Steven Harmsen called the Cape Argus and said he had been involved a similar incident six years ago.
“I was coming out of the Stones club in Table View when a gang of guys attacked me and my friend,” said Harmsen.
The attackers were well-dressed and didn’t seem like gangsters. One of the men had a length of rope with keys dangling from the end which he used to whip them.
“In the end I had cuts all over my body and face, and bruises everywhere,” said Harmsen. “We reported it to the police but never heard about it again.”