Cape casino freezes out activist
Cape Town - Sun International has banned Cape Town activist Braam Hanekom from GrandWest and has instituted stringent new security measures after pro-Palestinian protesters disrupted an international ice hockey match between South Africa and Israel last week.
Hanekom and several other protesters were evicted from the GrandWest Ice Rink as the match was delayed for about 45 minutes on Thursday evening. Hanekom claimed he was assaulted, while the GrandWest management claimed the protesters threw glass marbles on the ice during their protests, endangering the players.
At the weekend, Sun International spokesman Michael Farr said the company had video footage that showed Hanekom throwing marbles on the ice during an interval, and the video footage also proved that he had not been assaulted as he claimed.
Farr also denied that racial profiling was carried out at the entrance to deny some of the protesters who had bought tickets access to the match.
He denied that security staff had attacked Hanekom or any of the other protesters.
“GrandWest has extensive surveillance and security cameras. Visuals from inside the Ice Station as well as outside the Ice Station have been reviewed and the footage is definitive. No such attack took place. The only assault that took place was that of a protester who assaulted a security officer,” Farr said.
He said Hanekom had been escorted from the premises.
In response, Hanekom on Monday said he does not know how he could be banned from the venue. “How do they do that? The event isn’t hosted by them, how can they ban somebody?” he asked.
When asked whether he had thrown marbles on the ice, he first said he had the marbles in his hands and that they fell on the ice when the security guards grabbed him. Then he said he could not actually remember what he had in his hands.
“But why can a person not have marbles on him? There is no law against it,” he said.
“I will return to GrandWest Casino, in order to protest the Israeli Ice Hockey team if they play again at GrandWest Casino. If I need to get a court order to do this, I will. There is no legal basis for the banning order and it will be impossible to implement.”
Farr said while peaceful protest was the right of every South African, this right did not extend to private property or to putting people’s safety at risk.
“As to the second allegation (of racial profiling), security footage also clearly shows the entrances to the Ice Station. No such racial profiling took place. All persons with tickets were subject to a security search before entering the Ice Station.”
Farr said the next ice hockey match would be played on Sunday.
“Given that this is private property, no placards or physical protests will be permitted on the complex, or at any of the entrances.
“All guests wishing to enter the Ice Station will be searched to prevent any further risk to participants, guests and spectators.”
In a letter to the editor, a spectator at the match claimed to have seen the protesters throw marbles on the ice and that they were escorted out of the venue by security staff.