SA athletes assaulted in apparent student race attack

10 February 2018 - 19:40
By Leonie Wagner And Siphe Macanda
Thabang Mosiako. File photo.
Image: Tobias Ginsberg Thabang Mosiako. File photo.

South African athletics champions Thabang Mosiako and Rantso Mokopane were assaulted in an apparently racial motivated attack said to have been carried out by North West University students.

The assault took place last week Sunday during the university's student fundraising RAG event.

Mosiako‚ a 5,000m champion who was to compete in an athletics event in Algeria in March‚ was knocked unconscious during the assault, which happened close to the university.

Mosiako‚ Mokopane and their friend Sandy Londt were attacked by a group of men who they believe are students at the university.

The assault has sparked fears that Mosiako's immediate athletic dreams could be shattered amid concerns about the extent of his head injury.

Police have confirmed the attack is under investigation‚ but no arrests have been made.

North West police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Adele Myburgh said a case of assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm was opened.

In a Facebook post‚ Mokopane said it was the fourth time he had been attacked at or near the university.

"This time, my training partner was severely injured, resulting to a head trauma that may lead to lifelong seizures.

"I always refrain from racial issues‚ but on all those four attacks it has always been white men engulfing and injuring non-whites without cause. It saddens me that even police and protection services fail to protect where [they are] needed."

University spokesman Louis Jacobs said the institution was still not sure whether the alleged attackers were university students.

He said while the university was aware of the alleged incident and was investigating the matter‚ the attack had taken place off campus.

“This happened during RAG when there is a very big influx of young people who come to enjoy the event. There is no way we can say it was university students‚” said Jacobs.

He said the matter had been handed over to the university's protection services, which were conducting an investigation.

Jacobs added that the registration numbers of the vehicles in which the alleged attackers drove off did not correspond with those the university had on its database of students' vehicles.

“If any of our students were involved, they will go through the normal internal disciplinary measures. The university condemns any racial and violent acts in the strongest possible terms.”