Cape Town - The Kenilworth, Cape Town, swimming school owner and well-known cyclist who faces charges of assaulting domestic worker Cynthia Joni, is now facing a new assault complaint.
When interviewed at court last week, Tim Osrin claimed that he had never assaulted anyone before but had mistaken Joni for a “prostitute” and “snapped”.
Now, a Kenilworth-based sex-worker has come forward to claim that earlier this year, Osrin told her to “f*** off out of my street”, before hitting her so hard that he knocked a tooth out of her mouth.
The woman laid a charge of assault against Osrin at the Claremont police station earlier this week.
The woman has asked to be identified as “Ethel” for fear of intimidation (her real name is known to Weekend Argus and to the police).
Andre Traut, police spokesman for the Western Cape, confirmed that the charge had been laid, but would not comment further, saying that an investigation was under way.
Osrin, 41, was arrested last week after he allegedly beat up Joni, 44, on October 2 while she was on her way to work. He appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday last week on a charge of assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm. The case was postponed to November 27.
He declined to speak to Weekend Argus this week but in an interview last week explained his behaviour by saying he had thought Joni was a prostitute and said his neighbourhood was “full of prostitutes”.
He said: “It has never even crossed my mind to hit a prostitute” and described himself as “a clean-living guy who loves sport and who is completely involved in my community”.
This week, Weekend Argus spoke to a number of sex-workers and other people who work in the Kenilworth area, who confirmed that they had seen Ethel with a severely swollen lip the day after she says she was attacked.
At least five sex-workers who operate in the area attested to Ethel’s injuries and alleged they had also been harassed.
Ethel, 32, a sex-worker from the Eastern Cape, who regularly bases herself in and around Pine Road in Kenilworth, said that in December last year Osrin had stopped his car – which she said has a vanity number plate with the word SWIM on it – next to her while she was walking.
“He told me to get out of his street… but I was walking, not even standing. Then he started driving his car towards me. He told me not to come back to the street.”
Ethel pointed out to Weekend Argus the trees she cowered behind to avoid being struck by the vehicle.
She said that in January this year she was again in the Pine Road area.
“This time he was on his bicycle. He screamed to me, ‘Are you still here?’
“Then he put his bicycle on the side of the street and came up to me and started beating me. He grabbed my (breasts) and squeezed them hard and hit them.
“He kept hitting me and saying, ‘f*** off out of my street’.
“He kicked and beat me so hard that he knocked a tooth out of my mouth. I fell down and he carried on beating me. My mouth was bleeding.”
Ethel, a mother of two children, showed Weekend Argus the gap in her mouth resulting from the missing tooth.
She said that, after the January attack, Osrin had frequently warned her not to be in the area.
“Even the other day, he came to me and started being rude to me again,” said Ethel.
“He was on his bicycle – but some caretakers (from nearby townhouse complexes) were standing in the sun outside and they shouted to him, ‘If you do anything to her, you are going to see us.’
“They said to him, ‘She didn’t do
nothing to you and she is just walking in the street.’ They said to him, ‘This is not a snake. It is someone who is looking for work… It is someone who does not want to do this work, who sometimes goes up and down the street looking for white people who can help her, maybe by giving her clothes to sell to people so that she can get bread.’”
A fellow sex-worker told Weekend Argus that while she was walking from the Harfield station recently, she saw Ethel running down the road.
“I said, ‘Hayibo, what is the problem?’ – and then I saw that SWIM was chasing her again.
“I shouted to him ‘what is the problem… why are you always having a problem with this woman?’ and he shouted to me: ‘That woman is the problem. I do not want her sitting on the corner of my street.’
“Then he said, ‘I don’t have a problem with you girls standing down here… what I don’t want is you standing up near Pine Road, near my street.’”
Gifton Marawu, who has been working at a townhouse complex in Greenfield Road since 1998, said that, at the end of January this year, he had been outside the complex with two fellow caretakers when he saw Osrin harass Ethel as she walked down Greenfield Road.
“He was wearing glasses and cycling clothes and I thought he was coming from training. When she got close to Doulton Mews he tried to go with his bike between her legs. She jumped onto the pavement. He stopped his bike and he raised his arms.
“Then me and my friends shouted at him, ‘Hey, hey, hey.’ We screamed at him. I knew his face from when he drove the white car with SWIM on the number plate.”
Bongani Ndiza who works in another block confirmed he witnessed the incident.
Another sex-worker, who also asked to remain anonymous, alleged she had been pepper-sprayed by Osrin in February
because she was in the road where he lived.
A friend who witnessed the incident has handed over a cellphone to the Weekend Argus with a photograph of the sex-worker’s dress stained from pepper-spray.
Asked whether he was prepared to comment on the sex workers’ allegations, Osrin said he had no comment to make.
Asked whether he would at least listen to the allegations, he declined.
Meanwhile, Virgin Active announced this week that it had terminated Osrin’s contract as a member and swim coach.