Racism must fall – res­i­dent

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - NEWS - Arisa Janse van Rens­burg – ror­isangk@cit­i­zen.co.za

Role play­ers in the events that pre­ceded the out­break of racial ten­sion in the town of Machadodorp in Mpumalanga this week say there is more to the al­leged as­sault that sparked the out­rage, re­ports the Lowvelder.

A video of an al­leged racial at­tack has spread like wild­fire on so­cial me­dia since the in­ci­dent took place on Mon­day.

It shows God­frey Ma­suka be­ing de­tained by Bruce Botha and Wayne Stu­art from the lo­cal com­mu­nity polic­ing fo­rum (CPF). In the footage, Ma­suka is dragged onto the back of a bakkie.

All this took place in front of Mpumelelo Ndlovu’s restau­rant, where Ma­suka is an em­ployee.

An as­sault case against Botha and Stu­art was opened. They were ar­rested and ap­peared in the Belfast Mag­is­trate’s Court yes­ter­day.

The com­mu­nity re­tal­i­ated against the treat­ment of Ma­suka on Tues­day by loot­ing and burn­ing down a shop, block­ing the road, as well as burn­ing two trucks on the R36 to­wards Carolina. They threat­ened to burn down Machadodorp if “racism in this town” con­tin­ues.

Ac­cord­ing to Rid­waan Is­mail, owner of the shop that was torched, Ma­suka is not the vic­tim.

Is­mail said he had sold a house to Ndlovu and when she did not ad­here to the rent agree­ment, he had her legally evicted.

Ac­cord­ing to Is­mail, his em­ployee Jo­han Mor­ris was walk­ing past Ndlovu’s restau­rant on Mon­day when Ndlovu, Ma­suka and other com­mu­nity mem­bers started to ver­bally abuse him.

“The vic­tim [Ma­suka] on the video then at­tacked Jo­han and he came to my shop for help. I pressed the panic but­ton and the guy from the CPF phoned me. He said he would send some of his guys to the restau­rant while I phoned the po­lice,” Is­mail said.

It was then that things turned sour. Is­mail said when the po­lice ar­rived, they only saw Botha and Stu­art at­tack­ing Ma­suka.

Ndlovu said Mor­ris joked that he wanted to have lunch with them and mo­ments later, he and Ma­suka started fighting.

“He [Mor­ris] sprayed God­frey [Ma­suka] with pep­per spray and then ran off. He was still re­cov­er­ing when the two oth­ers came and at­tacked him.”

Is­mail claimed that the com­mu­nity, led by Ndlovu, at­tacked him at his house, shout­ing racist com­ments and threat­en­ing him and his fam­ily. “We had to leave Machadodorp.” He would not di­vulge where he had fled to.

In a state­ment, com­mu­nity safety, se­cu­rity and li­ai­son MEC Pat Ngo­mane called for calm.

Kevin Pil­lay, na­tional chair­per­son of CPFs, said on Tues­day in Mbombela that Botha and Stu­art were not ac­tive CPF mem­bers.

Po­lice’s Colonel Mt­sholi Bhembe said they were plead­ing with the com­mu­nity to stop the protests. – Cax­ton News Ser­vice

Rub­ber bul­let cas­ings, bricks and angry res­i­dents filled the street out­side the Belfast Mag­is­trate’s Court in Mpumalanga yes­ter­day, with res­i­dents threat­en­ing to burn the court af­ter two se­cu­rity guards ac­cused of beat­ing a black man were granted bail of R500 each.

The bail ver­dict en­raged mem­bers of the com­mu­nity, clad in EFF and ANC T-shirts. They had gath­ered out­side court, wait­ing to hear if Bruce Botha, 29, and 20-year-old Wayne Swart would be re­leased.

Se­cu­rity guards Botha and Swart made head­lines early this week when a video sur­faced, show­ing them man­han­dling God­frey Ma­suka and drag­ging him by his arms into the back of a bakkie.

The two ac­cused were ap­par­ently re­spond­ing to a com­plaint about an al­leged ar­gu­ment in­volv­ing Ma­suka.

While Botha and Swart were ar­rested for as­sault with in­tent to do griev­ous bod­ily harm, un­rest broke out in the small town of Belfast, with a shop looted and torched, roads bar­ri­caded, and the burn­ing of two trucks in the week.

As soon as Mag­is­trate No­mam­pondo Har­mans made her rul­ing, rocks were pelted at the court build­ing, with threats to burn it.

Po­lice re­sponded by fir­ing rub­ber bul­lets to dis­perse the crowd but within min­utes, the angry res­i­dents re­turned in num­bers.

The few po­lice of­fi­cers ap­peared de­feated when bakkies filled with EFF mem­bers ar­rived to join in the mas­sive demon­stra­tion. A few fear­less com­mu­nity mem­bers even walked up to the po­lice to dance in front of them.

While some were seen pick­ing up stones, be­hind the court build­ing Swart, Botha, their lawyer and fam­ily mem­bers jumped into a bakkie and es­caped the crowd.

EFF Nkan­gala re­gion chair Poppy Moila, said: “How can two peo­ple who were at­tack­ing some­one, racially at that, be given bail?

“We’re dis­ap­pointed by this in­ci­dent and it is heart­break­ing to be dragged on the road, chained and beaten. Not only did these peo­ple beat that vic­tim, they beat other peo­ple that tried to as­sist in the in­ci­dent. That is very cruel.”

Peo­ple from Machadadorp later block­aded the N4 high­ways out­side the town, set­ting an­other truck alight.

The state did not op­pose bail as Botha and Swart had no pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions nor pend­ing cases, said Mon­ica Nyuswa, spokesper­son for the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity in Mpumalanga. The case was post­poned to September 28.

Pic­ture: Jac­ques Nelles

PANDEMONIUM. Com­mu­nity mem­bers threat­ened to burn the court, bar­ri­caded roads and looted a store yes­ter­day af­ter se­cu­rity guards Bruce Botha and Wayne Stu­art were given bail af­ter allegedly beat­ing up God­frey Ma­suka dur­ing an ar­rest this week in Mpumalanga.

LUCKY ES­CAPE. Bruce Botha, left, Wayne Stu­art, cen­tre, and mem­bers of the fam­ily wait­ing for a get­away bakkie at Belfast Mag­is­trate’s Court.

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