Attacked for being at a white place at the wrong time

Ntwaagae Seleka

Ntwaagae Seleka

A Meyerton, Vaal, father and his three-year-old nephew have paid dearly for trying to use a public phone in the suburb he has lived in for 12 years.

Mpumelelo Mthimkhulu, 31, an employee of the Gauteng department of sport, arts and culture said the leisurely walk to a public telephone booth on Friday afternoon left him a bitter man.

He was with his nephew, Sabelo, when two men, aged 18 and 31, accosted them. They assaulted him and kicked the child in the face. They also called Sabelo a "little kaffir".

The men were arrested but released after paying bail at Meyerton police station on Friday.

Mthimkhulu told Sowetan that one of the men shouted: "We do not want kaffirs in our town anymore. We are going to kill you".

"He hit me with a steel rod and I blocked the blow with my hand. We then wrestled for the rod and I managed to grab Sabelo and escape.

"As we were running away the two men chased us with a bakkie. They cornered us and assaulted us again," Mthimkhulu said.

"I then fell on Sabelo and shielded him with my body so that they could not harm him."

Mthimkhulu said the men tried to drag the child from underneath him, saying they wanted to kill him.

"I knew they would do it. I could not let go of Sabelo. One of them then tried to pull my right eye out with his fingers."

One of the men kicked Sabelo in the face and body while the other kicked and trampled over his face, Mthimkhulu said.

After the assault, Mthimkhulu said he heard their assailants speaking on their cellphones, boasting that "they had taught a kaffir a lesson".

Mthimkhulu's painful, injured eye has been bandaged.

"I am lucky to still have my eye. Sabelo escaped but with a bruised face and is still in shock."

Mthumkhulu and his family have lived in the town since 1996 and said they had been using the public phone since its installation.

He said he was angry at the men, especially when they assaulted and hurled racial abuse at Sabelo.

Police spokesman Inspector Sabata Modupe said they had arrested the two men, who were expected to appear in the Meyerton magistrate's court today on charges of assault, crimen injuria and malicious damage to property.