Free State police investigating assault case after adults 'attack' black teens at resort swimming pool
No arrests yet but suspects warned to appear in court “on a date to be set by the Bloemfontein magistrate's court”.
Free State police are investigating an assault case after an alleged racially-motivated attack by adult males who tried to prevent black teens from using the swimming pool at a resort on Christmas Day.
A video clip, shared on social media, captured part of the incident at Maselspoort Resort and Conference Centre, on the banks of the Modder River about 23km outside Bloemfontein.
The footage depicted white males ordering a teenager out of the water, then hitting or shoving him back in, grabbing a child by the throat and pulling his hair — as the fracas escalates and the youngsters are manhandled.
TimesLIVE has attempted to contact the resort during the course of the day and will update this article when a response is obtained.
Speaking on SABC news on Monday, the boys' father said they were traumatised, and one of them could have drowned.
“As we were relaxing, the boys came and told us that they are being prevented from using the pool by a group of white adult males. They said they were told by the men that the pool is only reserved for people who are booked here [at the resort]. We then went to the pool to intervene and told the gentlemen that we are also booked here and not day visitors. So we thought the issue was resolved but were shocked to hear that they were attacked after we left,” he said.
Premier Sisi Ntombela “noted with disgust” what had transpired and said “racism and such barbaric actions have no place in our province”.
Economic, small business development, tourism and environmental affairs (DESTEA) MEC Makalo Mohale will meet the management of the resort to “gather all the relevant facts” and contact the victims.
Police spokesperson Brig Makhele Motantsi said Glen police members responded to an incident at a holiday resort in Bloemfontein just after 3pm on Sunday.
“On arrival members found the groups already dispersed and were approached by a parent of one of the victims who alleged that his two teenage boys aged 18 and 13 were assaulted by a group of white males over the use of a swimming pool,” Motantsi said.
A case of common assault is under investigation and the docket will be submitted for a decision regarding prosecution.
“The suspects who are all white males, as seen on the video circulating, were warned to appear in court on a date to be set by the Bloemfontein magistrate's court,” Motantsi said.
Provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Baile Motswenyane said the incident will receive proper attention from the investigating team.
The boys' father was disappointed an assault case was opened and not one of attempted murder.
“One of the guys tried to drown the boy, that is attempted murder and it should have been registered as so but police told us they are only opening an assault case,” he said.
“Thus far, the incident has been identified as one element that remains a threat to the revival of the tourism sector. Therefore we urge our communities to report any incident of racism to law enforcement agencies and continue to play a role in assisting the police to ensure that perpetrators are brought to book,” said Mohale.
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