Pretoria - A Pretoria man is in coma and fighting for his life after a Blue Bulls player allegedly cracked his skull during a fist fight outside a nightclub.
The victim’s father had to drag the police to his son’s hospital bed in the ICU after they apparently refused to open a criminal case, claiming that only the victim could lay a charge.
The identity of the suspect, who plays for the Under-21 side, cannot be published as he is yet to be officially charged and appear in court.
The assault took place outside Madison Nightclub in Lynnwood Park in the city in the early hours of Saturday when Louis Pienaar, 38, was out with his cousin Christian Cronje.
The two were getting ready to leave the club at around 3.30am when a group of rugby players arrived, said Cronje.
“I’m not quite sure how the fight started but it was over something really stupid like how we were staring at them. We just wanted to leave and the bouncers came to break up the verbal altercation,” said Cronje.
At this point Pienaar walked out and it’s alleged that one of the players followed him outside.
“I briefly lost sight of him and when I walked out I saw him lying on the pavement. There were people around him trying to wake him up. He had taken a blow to the left of his face, blood was coming out of his mouth and from the back of the head. He was unconscious. The person who punched him climbed into a car and fled,” said Cronje.
Pienaar’s sister, Karen, claimed that witnesses told them the suspect came from behind Pienaar and landed one blow which floored him. “But it was the second punch that made his head hit the pavement very hard,” she said.
Pienaar’s wife, Corryne, said her husband was put on life support because of his cracked skull. “They sedated him to give his brain a rest and we have been given 24 hours before we know if he will need an operation to release the pressure on his brain. We are just hanging in there hoping that he will pull through,” said Corryne, who has two sons aged 3 and 6.
The victim’s father, Pine, had been battling to open a criminal case and have the suspect arrested, because Garsfontein police wanted his son to personally lay a charge.
“I told them he wasn’t capable of doing that because he is unconscious in hospital. On Saturday I took them to Life Wilgers Hospital to show them his condition. They then said the State will open the case on his behalf. I have not heard from them since, meanwhile the suspect is out in the streets,” said Pine.
A manager from the Blue Bulls has contacted Pine to apologise for the incident.
Garsfontein police spokesperson Captain Ilze Jones confirmed a case of assault had been opened and that the suspect had not been arrested.
“No witness statements have been taken to help identify the suspect as we are waiting for the victim to get better. Police have not been able to obtain it (a statement) from him. The assault case was opened based on his physical injuries. However, the investigating officer is communicating with the hospital about his recovery.”
Shanil Mangaroo, Blue Bulls spokesperson, said the rugby union would not comment yet as they did not have enough information.