Guards beat up footballer

A FORMER Pretoria University footballer was brutally assaulted by security guards for allegedly talking to an elderly white woman.

Mthunzi Gqada, who spent the night at Kloof Hospital, in Pretoria, sustained injuries to his head and body after the attack.

The incident occurred outside a fast food outlet at Elarduspark, eastern Pretoria, on Wednesday evening.

He was returning from a soccer practice at a local school about 7pm when he accompanied a friend to withdraw cash from an ATM at the shopping complex.

Sergeant Lynnette Erasmus of the Lyttelton police cluster confirmed they were investigating a case of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm against a security guard.

Gqada was allegedly assaulted with a baton and dragged on a tarred road.

Mthunzi said it all started when he was trying to convince his friend to buy him a meal from the chicken outlet while a plain-clothed guard kept a close watch on them.

"Then an elderly white woman came out of the KFC and told us that the entrance to the store was not a good place to argue," he said.

"She said something about her husband when the guard interrupted and ordered me and my friend to leave.

"He then sprayed my friend in the face with pepper. When I asked him why he sprayed him . he pulled out a two-way radio and spoke to someone.

"I sensed danger and tried to flee but three guards caught me and assaulted me," he said.

"They kicked, punched and beat me with a donkiepiel (baton). I managed to break free but they caught up with me across the road after I was almost hit by a passing vehicle.

"They pepper-sprayed me and hand-cuffed me.

"A friend and neighbour tried to help me but he too was apprehended and hand-cuffed to me."

Gqada said they were rescued from further assault by locals who told the guards that Mthunzi was not a criminal and that he always visited the complex to purchase refreshments after soccer practice.

Mthunzi's mother Vuyiswa Gqada said: "When I went to report the matter to the Lyttelton police I found that the guards, accompanied by their manager, had already opened a case that they had pepper-sprayed some suspects.

"Nothing was mentioned about the unprovoked brutal assault on my son and his friends. The police even refused to open a case against the guards."