Pienaar sets ball rolling at court
Bafana Bafana captain Steven Pienaar has distanced himself from allegations of assaulting Thabang Mnisi, son of a government official, during a drunken brawl at an upmarket nightclub in Johannesburg last month.
"I did not assault the complainant. I admit I was present at the club that night but I did not assault anyone," Pienaar said through his lawyer, Cliff Alexander, outside the Randburg Magistrate's Court yesterday.
Sowetan understands that Mnisi, who is the son of Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration Ayanda Dlodlo, failed to attend a scheduled identity parade at the Sandton police station on Tuesday.
He was also absent from court yesterday.
The Tottenham Hotspur player turned himself in to the Sandton police station on June 18 following allegations by Mnisi that Pienaar assaulted him in the VIP section of Icon, a luxury nightclub on Friedman Drive in Sandton.
Mnisi claimed that Pienaar and his friends, who had been enjoying a boy's night out, kicked and punched him several times after a confrontation in the club's VIP section.
It is alleged that Pienaar and his friends prevented Mnisi from using the toilet in the VIP section.
Mnisi further alleged that Pienaar and his friends asked him why he was in the VIP area and he explained to them that he had every right to be there because he was on the VIP guest list.
He also alleged that Pienaar and his friends then began to punch and kick him until he fell to the ground.
He was rescued by the club's bouncers. Mnisi was rushed to Morningside Clinic, where he was treated for his injuries.
Yesterday a relaxed-looking Pienaar arrived at court accompanied by four unidentified friends.
The men shared jokes and laughed out loud inside the court before the case was heard.
Prosecutor Samantha Manning asked the court to grant the state a postponement because investigations were incomplete.
Manning also said that an identification parade still needed to be held.
Pienaar was released on warning and his case was postponed to September 6.
Outside court Alexander, who looked confident that his client would be found not guilty, said video footage would clear the soccer star of the allegations levelled at him.
"The complainant needs to be honest enough to say who actually assaulted him," said Alexander.
He said Pienaar, who jetted into the country for the court appearance, would be leaving for London at the weekend.
"We want this case to go on trial. The state needs to prove his guilt," he said.
Alexander said Mnisi mentioned that other people were involved in assaulting him.
"When asked did Pienaar assault you? He gave names and fingered the soccer player," he said.