File photo: The woman who suffered severe burns to her face when acid was thrown at her. Picture: Jeffrey Abrahams

The homeless person accused of throwing acid over a 23-year-old’s face has told the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court he can not recall anything about it.

Elix Fransman was charged with assault with intent to commit grievous bodily harm after the attack on August 30 last year. The woman, whose identity is being withheld for her safety, is from Zimbabwe.

She had acid burns to her face and left shoulder. Doctors performed plastic surgery on her face weeks after the attack. She still lives in Cape Town.

Prosecutor Valencia van der Berg alleged on Wednesday that he assaulted the woman in a minibus taxi en route from Sea Point to the city centre.

Fransman, who appeared dazed and confused, reiterated that he did not remember anything. He did say he was in a taxi en route to the city centre on that day, but remembers nothing else.

“I don’t remember the woman. I don’t remember what happened,” he said.

Fransman, who said he had never seen acid, also said that he could not recall the day, April 10, on which the woman had testified in court.

“I don’t know what happened on that day. I don’t know her,” he said.

Fransman, who is from Prieska in the Northern Cape, lives under the N1 bridge close to the Cape Town International Convention Centre. He said he had previously slept in Napier Street and worked as a parking attendant in Green Point.

He was arrested on September 2 last year and remains in custody. A confused-looking Fransman said police had come to him just after 9am on September 30. He could not answer Van der Berg when she asked why the dates differed. “Officers came in a private vehicle and I thought that they were coming to preach to us.”

On September 2 police questioned him about the incident and he denied having any involvement adding that he was in hospital, his lawyer Desiree Sliers said.

Van der Berg asked him when and why he was in hospital. He replied: “I was in Somerset Hospital between the 21st and 23rd of August.”

Magistrate Ronelle Oliver then asked him to explain when and where he was arrested.

He looked at Oliver, closed his eyes and said: “It was September 30 last year when police came to me while I was lying under the bridge. They said I must co-operate with them and took me to Cape police station.”

He was held in custody for questioning and arrested the next day. He said police forced him to confess to the charges.

“They said they know I threw acid on the woman’s face. But I did not.” The case continues.

Cape Times