Rorisang Kgosana
Premium Journalist
3 minute read
21 Aug 2017
5:00 am

Pretoria, the capital of racism?

Rorisang Kgosana

As ‘KFC 5’ get bail, petrol attendants speak out about continual harassment.

The five men implicated in the assault of a black couple at a KFC are seen appearing in court during their bail hearing, from left to right, Stefan Nel, DJ Van Rooyen, Marius Harding, Ockert Muller and Joshua Liam Scholtz, they appeared in the Pretoria North Magistrates Court, 10 August 2017, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Racial anger is alive and well and making its ugly presence felt in Pretoria North, with an average of eight to 10 reported cases of racial assaults monthly.

A recent incident involved a teenager spitting in the face of a black gardener. Sinoville police station warrant officer Ravi Naidoo said race-based cases involved different race groups.

“Sometimes it is white on black, or black on white. On average, we have between eight and 10 cases a month.”

Naidoo’s remarks were given in evidence before the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court on Friday when five men appeared for assaulting a black couple, Jacob and Dudu Sono, at a KFC drive-through in Montana earlier this month.

Despite the defence attorney’s attempt to refute the incident was racial, Naidoo, group commander in the Sinoville area, testified as to the number of assault dockets opened.

A 19-year-old school pupil was arrested last week after he spat at a gardener at Hoërskool Montana.

He was granted bail and is facing charges of crimen injuria and common assault.

But racial discrimination also occurs within the Sinoville police station.

“In some instances, my clients are detained for possession of drugs. Some of the captains in this station refuse to grant them police bail without providing reasons, but easily release white detainees. It is not all members, but there are several captains who racially discriminate,” said an advocate who wished to remain anonymous.

The court heard on Friday that the KFC attack was believed to be racial as the accused gave “attitude” when asked to move forward in the drive-through queue, Naidoo explained.

“The complainants went to buy food. They saw the accused and asked them to move but the attitude they received was that they should wait. When the complainant asked again, he was assaulted, along with his wife.”

Sono’s wife was punched several times while he was kicked and punched, had a firearm pointed at him and was hit on the head with it.

His attackers, Stephan Nel, 39, DJ van Rooyen, 21, and Joshua Schultz, 21, appeared for the third time for bail after video footage of the attack went viral on social media.

Their co-accused, Ockert Muller, 20, was granted bail last week, while Marius Harding, 23, abandoned his bail application.

Harding, however, apparently absconded from justice in the Free State, when he allegedly assaulted petrol attendants, calling them the k-word.

He apparently moved to Johannesburg after the incident.

The court heard that Harding had an outstanding warrant of arrest against him. The other three alleged attackers remained at Kgosi Mampuru II prison as the matter was postponed to Wednesday.

Petrol attendants in the Sinoville and Montana area say they have witnessed “countless” racial incidents, with one stating he was constantly harassed when working night shift.

“They come here drunk and hurl insults at us. One drunk white man insulted me when he tried to pay for petrol but his card was declined. Others drive off without even paying.”

An attendant at an Engen garage on Sefako Makgatho Drive said police arrived there last week, searching for a group of white men who had used the k-word.

– rorisangk@citizen.co.za