A motor vehicle accident resulted in the brutal assault of a Tzaneen couple in the CBD on Wednesday afternoon. Clive Jones (53) and his partner, Martie De Bruto (48), were traveling through town along Skirving Street, heading towards Bearing Man. They were underway to buy spares for a quad-bike.
At the four-way crossing opposite Magic Build and Tzaneen Crossings centre, their Hyundai Getz collided with a delivery motorbike from Adam’s café. The motorcycle was coming from Sugarloaf’s direction and heading down Skirving Street. The motorcyclist had turned right to head into Crossings when Jones vehicle hit his motorbike’s back wheel.
Jones pulled his vehicle over to the side of the road, climbed out and walked over to the driver of the motorbike who had now walked onto the pavement and was sitting down on the curb stone. Martie remained in the vehicle. Jones sat down next to the motorcyclist and asked him if he was okay. It was at that moment that a large crowd of men came running towards the pair from the Magic Build parking lot. They crowded around the two men sitting on the pavement. More men came running in from the taxi rank at Crossings and still more from across the street.
This is where the trouble started. “I know the bloke from Adam’s Café very well,” said Jones. “I used to operate my salon from that little centre at Adam’s and so I went over to him to ask him if he was okay. He still had his helmet on when I sat down on the pavement next to him. As I put my arm around him and apologized, I felt a vicious blow strike the side of my head. I turned to see what was going on and that is when the crowd started attacking me.”
CCTV footage of the entire incident showed that two men started punching and kicking Jones as he tried to stand up and make it back to his vehicle. Bulletin has seen the footage. “They shouted at me that they were going to kill me and that I was not going anywhere. There were so many punches and kicks flying at me, that I didn’t know what was going on. All I could think of was to get to my partner in the car.”
Martie saw what was happening and exited the vehicle. She ran towards Clive and shouted at the attacking crowd to leave him alone and stop hitting him. “They were very aggressive and the hate in their eyes was apparent as they started chanting ‘kill the whites, kill the whites’! I was terrified that they were going to kill Clive and so I pushed him into the driver’s side of the vehicle. I tried to close his door, but the crowd started punching me in my ribs and slapping me in the face and on my head. One guy started punching Clive through the open window from underneath my arms. I shouted at him to drive away so that the situation would calm down and maybe the crowds would stop attacking us.”
Martie recalled how some of the attackers opened the passenger doors to their vehicle and climbed into the backseat searching through the car as they did so. One man grabbed Clive’s cell phone while another went for Martie’s handbag. “They literally piled into our car shouting at us and laughing as they did so. I grabbed hold of my handbag while trying to close Clive’s door and the guy pulled at my bag so hard that my strap started breaking. The guy behind me who was hitting Clive in the face, went for the keys to the vehicle in the ignition.”
Again she shouted for Clive to drive away. This time he did and the attackers turned their attention to Martie. “We are going to kill you right here, was he drunk huh? They screamed at me while they were pushing and pulling. From the corner of my eye I noticed a young guy taking a video and thought to myself, this kid is going to be the next target.”
The young man taking a video was Christo van der Grijp (19). He and his mother, Loraine (46) just happened to be in their vehicle in the lane right next to Jones at the time of the accident. They were underway to Magic Build to buy supplies. The pair saw the entire event unfold. Both of them are also active members of the Letaba Brandwag.
“I pulled into the parking lot and noticed people running toward Trophy Tyres across the road. I reported the accident over our WhatsApp Emergency group and looked over to see a large crowd of people shouting and screaming. I then saw that in the middle of the crowd there was a couple being assaulted and two men were running towards them from Trophy Tyres. I ran over to help and started taking a video of the events as evidence.”
The crowd noticed he was taking a video and one of the men reportedly shouted, “catch him, he is making a video!” According to Christo, a group of around seven men broke away from the crowd and started attacking him, trying to steal his phone. “I put my phone in my pocket and tried to run back to my vehicle. I was receiving punches to my head and my face and one guy was hanging onto my arm. I dragged him across the road with me as I made my getaway back to my vehicle where my mother was waiting for me.”
Christo told Bulletin that in the parking lot at Magic Build, the seven attackers continued to pull at his clothes while hitting him as they tried to get hold of his phone. His mother had climbed out of their vehicle to try and help her son and was also violently attacked. She was punched in the face and had to seek medical attention later that day for vertebrae that had moved and muscles in her neck that were strained.
“I saw my mother’s glasses were on the floor and she went back to the car. I was still being assaulted and screamed at my attackers that we had already phones the police and they were on their way. One of the guys laughed at me and shouted “we own the f***ing police!”
To seek help, Christo ran down towards Tyre Rack with the attackers in pursuit. It was at this point that security company bakkies were arriving and so the attackers ran off into the direction of the taxi rank.
Meanwhile, back at the scene of the accident, Wynand McDonald and Lukas Botha, both employees at Trophy Tyres, were trying to secure Martie and attempting to ward off the attacking mob. A passing motorist stopped at the scene, opened his vehicle door to let Martie climb in so that he could drive her to safety, but was prevented from doing so by the mob. “Wynand and Lukas were pleading with the crowd to stop hitting me and to let go of my clothes and my bag while trying to get me into the car. But one of the men kicked the car door closed and the mob started hitting and kicking the car while shouting at the driver to leave.”
McDonald and Botha escourted Martie into the Trophy Tyres showroom where she would be safe until the police arrived. A police van arrived on the scene along Northern Security and Canine Security. Large Security also arrived at the scene. At the sight of the approaching security vehicles the attacking mob instantly dispersed. The attackers ran into the direction of the taxi rank and disappeared.
Clive had driven off towards Adam’s café where he reported the accident to the owner, Beate Altenroxel. “When I saw that Wynand and Lukas were with Martie, I drove away from the scene and went straight to Adam’s to report what had happened as I know the guy for many years.” Clive waited at Adam’s Café. He was later collected there by ambulance.
Deon van Tonder drove the wounded Martie and Clive to Van Velden hospital and ensured that both of their files were in order and that they would be seen to before leaving. At the hospital Martie and Clive were given painkillers and only received an injection after they insisted on one. According to the pair, no thorough medical examination was conducted and no x-rays were taken, despite both of them complaining that they had internal pain. Clive’s retina was shifted from his right eye by what appears to have been either a scratch or a very hard hit. Martie made him an eye-patch. The pair gave their statements to the police and the matter is now under investigation.
All four of the victims have given their statements to the Tzaneen police. Loraine van der Grijp has laid a charge of assault against two of the men in the video footage. All evidence has been handed to the police. At the time of going to print no arrests have been made. We were not able to speak to Beate Altenroxel, Wynand McDonald, Lukas Botha or the driver of the delivery bike at the time of going to print. The police in Tzaneen have confirmed that case of reckless driving and another case of assault is being investigated. We will follow up with the police in this matter and provide a follow up in our next edition.