Suspects held for club gang beating

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Copy of st p2main arno1 (39199879) INLSA Arno van Staden in hospital just after he was attacked at the Elephants and Friends club in Roodepoort. Picture: Handout/Supplied

Johannesburg - The father of a young man seriously beaten by members of an alleged motorcycle gang has finally found justice after four men were arrested nearly two months later.

The four – aged between 18 and 47 – had been charged with attempted murder, said police spokesman Warrant Officer Daniel Mavimbela.

Arno van Staden’s father Jannie said there was video footage of the brutal attack on his son, and every time he saw it, it made him very angry. In the footage, he could see his son being kicked in the face and stomped on the head.

 The attack on Arno, 22, and his friend Ruan Snyman took place on November 16 at the Elephants and Friends club in Roodepoort.

Arno said in an affidavit to the police that he saw Snyman being hit and kicked by a group of men.

“He was full of blood and I noticed he had lost consciousness due to the assault.”

He said he pleaded with the attackers to stop, and bent down to pick his friend up when one of the attackers hit him.

“He hit me and I fell against a concrete pillar and tried to cover my face,” Arno said. He could feel that more than one person was attacking him.

He tried to run away and got into his car, thinking he had to scare the men away so as to save his friend. But he couldn’t see Snyman, and he stopped his car.

Someone took his car keys and a group of men came for him.

“I knew I was in trouble when the first blow hit my face and I saw blood everywhere. I tried to run when they overpowered me, and I could feel somebody jumping on my head,” Arno said.

He lost consciousness, and came to when ADT Security guards helped him up and took him to hospital.

His father alleged the attackers were members of Mac’s biker club, a group named in various assaults a decade ago.

The motorcycle club has not responded to several requests by The Star for comment.

Private investigator Mike Bolhuis became involved in the case because he feared there would be revenge attacks.

He alleges that the Mac bikers club was known to be involved in criminal activities. “The next step is to get the high court and police to declare the club an illegal entity.”

Jannie said he was a concerned father who wants to stop attacks on young people.

“We need to get rid of gangs like this that go around attacking people. A number have been attacked recently. We need to stop this abuse of our children.”

He said there were about 10 people in the video around his son. “After it happened, they patted each other on the back as if they had done something well.”

When the case was opened, the charge was assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm, but he petitioned the police, and the charge was changed to attempted murder.

“You don’t jump on someone’s head like that if you don’t intend to kill them,” he said.

The picture of Arno in hospital was taken by someone in the group who attacked his son, and forwarded via cellphone.

“It was sent around so they could brag about what they did to him, so that people would fear them,” Jannie said.

“At one stage, (Arno) told me, he felt his skull crack and he thought he was going to die.”

The Star


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