Police Minister Fikile Mbalula’s tweet that the five men accused of attacking a couple at a KFC in Montana in Pretoria last week were a “racist gang” was irresponsible and unfounded, their lawyer says.
Speaking at the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court yesterday at the suspects’ bail hearing, defence advocate JC Erasmus said: “This incident was immediately made out to be racial with no reason. That perception is inaccurate and untrue.
“Minister Fikile Mbalula made wild accusations on social media of a racist gang. Mbalula tweeted that they were involved in other attacks towards black people, which was an unfounded fact. That was irresponsible,” he said.
Mbalula had said the group had previous cases of assault against them, but the court heard that these cases had been struck off the roll and withdrawn.
Three of the men applied for bail yesterday. The group allegedly attacked a couple at a KFC drive-through after the pair had requested they move forward in the queue.
Video footage of the attack taken by the victims went viral. But the accused said the couple, Dudu and Jacob Sono, had instigated the altercation, claiming Jacob Sono behaved aggressively, which led to an argument.
Reading from accused Dicky Junior van Rooyen’s affidavit, Erasmus said Sono was “dissatisfied” when the group explained the reason for the delay.
“We placed an order and were told it will take some time. We were asked to pay at the same window. The Audi [Sono] behind us revved his engine, signalling us to move forward. We then told the man the reason for the delay. He behaved in an aggressive manner and was dissatisfied.
“He approached me, but was also approached by security who told him to get in his car. When they got back in the car, they were approached by [Stephan Nel] and [Marius Harding]. An argument ensued and it got physical. [Ockert Muller] and [I] were not involved in any physical altercation.”
Nel, 39, Van Rooyen, 21, Harding, 23, Muller, 20, and Joshua Schultz, 21, face charges of attempted murder and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
Muller was released on bail last week while Harding abandoned his bail application yesterday.
The bail hearing was postponed to August 18. – firstname.lastname@example.org