Johannesburg - A shocking assault by a man who got out of a police vehicle, left the son of SA’s former ambassador to Thailand in a Joburg intensive care unit, with a fractured skull and “contusions on his brain”.
Donald Gibson, son of Douglas Gibson who was the DA’s chief whip prior to becoming an ambassador, was beaten and knocked out last Saturday when what was to have been a fun day with colleagues at the rugby match between the Springboks and the All Blacks at the FNB stadium in Soweto, turned ugly.
Douglas Gibson said his son, who is an environmental scientist, had been punched below the ear after finding himself among a group who joked and laughed on seeing the door of a police van fall off in the parking lot.
“While [they were] in the car park, a police van pulled up. Several men climbed out. Then the door of the van just fell off and there was a roar of laughter from bystanders. People were laughing and taking pictures as they tried to put the door back on. It was all good-natured,” the injured man’s father said.
“Then one man [who got out of the police van] pointed at Donald and said to him ‘I know where you live’. Donald replied that he wasn’t going to disseminate the pictures. He said he wouldn’t put them on Facebook or Twitter.”
But the man responded by punching him and knocking him out. He went on to threaten another member of the group.
“(Donald) fell on the back of his head. People around him thought that he was dying. He was gurgling and gargling in pain.”
The men from the police van then got into a taxi and left.
Donald was rushed to a Joburg hospital, where he has been in ICU ever since.
“He has a fractured skull and contusions on his brain. We are very grateful… [the injuries were not a lot worse]. But we have been assured that he will be fine,” Gibson said.
The assault was reported to the Parkview police station, and station commander Colonel Nanda Moodley took a witness statement himself.
Moodley told Weekend Argus sister title the Saturday Star yesterday: “I got a call from Mr Gibson who told me what had happened to his son. He said his son was incapacitated. We took a statement from a witness.”
But the case had to be transferred to the Booysens police station, because the FNB Stadium fell under that jurisdiction.
“There has been a slight delay, an administrative delay, with getting the docket there. We have only managed to take it there today (Friday). But I have called the station commander there and told him that this case needs to take priority,” Moodley said.
He denied the men in the police vehicle had been policemen.
“The police officers were driving a Toyota Quantum. They gave these three guys a lift. When they got out of the kombi, they yanked the door so hard that it came off the rails. Then they tried to put it back.”
Moodley was adamant that the man who attacked Gibson was not a policeman. But it was unclear why the police at the scene at the time had not made an arrest there and then.
Donald is a partner and principal environmental scientist at SRK Consulting, an international consulting practice that provides advice to clients, mainly from the earth- and water-resource industries.
He has been involved in environmental management and has published several research documents on environmental issues.
Last night Douglas Gibson said his son was awake, and now able to speak, but that his recovery would be slow.
“It is going to be a very slow process for us. It has been hard for everyone. His wife, Tarryn, is a sensible and intelligent woman. She has taken it like a champ. But it has been hard, exhausting.”
And he was adamant he would insist on a “thorough police investigation”.
“We have several witnesses and pictures which were taken of the incident. I am determined to see that this kind of crime will not go unpunished.”