Cape Town - The case of a vicious assault on a gardener with a sjambok is but one of 10 recent “race related” attacks in Cape Town suburbs, district prosecutor Nathan Johnson told the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court yesterday.
Jan van Tonder, a dentist employed by the SANDF who also has a private practice at his Claremont home, has been charged with assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and crimen injuria for beating gardener Muhammed Makungwa with a sjambok in Claremont on Sunday morning. He was also charged with defeating the ends of justice yesterday.
When Van Tonder appeared on Thursday, Johnson informed the court he could also be charged with attempted murder after Makungwa said Van Tonder had tried to run him over with his BMW X5.
Johnson listed these cases:
* In November 2013, SAPS detective Sibulele Nkwenkwenzi was driving when three white males allegedly cornered him with their motor vehicle at a stop street in Diep River. The men allegedly accused Nkwenkwenzi of wanting to hijack them before attacking him in his car. They retreated when he produced his firearm.
The case is pending.
* In January, Djovan Arrigonie allegedly urinated on a black man from the balcony of a nightclub in Claremont. When confronted by the victim, Arrigonie allegedly replied: “I’m white, you’re black. I’m rich, you’re poor.” The matter is pending.
* In February, Monique Fuller was allegedly driving drunk in Wynberg and when pursued by police, drove away before crashing her car. When police arrested her, she allegedly said: “So what, I’m drunk. You’re stupid black cops.” She then allegedly tried to grab one of the policeman’s firearms. Fuller is charged with drunken driving, crimen injuria and robbery.
* In April, Morne Uys, manager of a security company, allegedly beat up a black employee for coming to work late. The case is pending.
* In June, Claremont resident JJ Hearne was arrested for allegedly calling a black man the k-word and then assaulting him.
The matter is pending.
* In July, Calvin Fyfe allegedly insulted a black police officer by showing her his penis and saying: “Suck my d**k”. The matter is pending.
* Also in July, Gregory Hewin pistol-whipped an off-duty security guard in Llandudno. Hewin was found guilty of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and sentenced to 18 months direct imprisonment suspended for five years.
* Last month swimming instructor Tim Osrin allegedly attacked domestic worker Cynthia Joni in Kenilworth. Osrin said he thought she was a sex worker. The case is pending.
* On Sunday, two men were involved in a brawl at the Cape Quarter shopping centre. A black man asked two white men at an ATM to hurry up. One of the men then allegedly called the black man the k-word and a fight started, ending with the white man on the floor after allegedly being punched and kicked by the black man. A case of assault is pending.
Makungwa, 22, earlier told police he had been running because he was late for work in Rondebosch. A motorist in a white BMW X5 then tried to knock him over. When Makungwa stopped, the driver got out and began beating him with a sjambok, he said.
Makungwa is still recovering from head wounds and bruises to his body.
Johnson read Van Tonder’s statement to police in court: “He says he heard a sound near his motor vehicle that morning. He saw Makungwa and suspected he broke into his vehicle. He stopped beating him when he saw his lunchbox fall on to the ground.”
“It’s clear he realised after beating him that he was the wrong person,” he added.
Johnson asked Magistrate Sharon Williams to postpone the matter for the State to consult Makungwa. Williams warned Van Tonder to appear in court again on November 21.
On the need for a postponement Johnson said: “If he tried to knock Makungwa down that warrants a case for attempted murder.”
Western Cape head of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, Hishaam Mohamed, said: “These narrow-minded people do not represent the majority. People should lodge complaints with the Equality Court if discriminated against on grounds of race, gender, disability or hate speech.”
National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Eric Ntabazila said: “Many cases get heard as assault cases. If there are racist elements the Equality Court deals with it.”