A white German businessman was viciously beaten up and his top black model girlfriend brutally battered and left with a broken leg in an alleged racist attack by star rugby players.
Film star and catwalk queen Mirriam Ngomani and husband-to-be Tobias Zehetleitner had been enjoying a night out at a casino in Pretoria, South Africa, when they were targeted.
The model’s agent says the group of at least five white men who attacked them are well known patrons of the glitzy casino and players from a ‘famous rugby club’.
Film star and catwalk queen Mirriam Ngomani and husband-to-be Tobias Zehetleitner, pictured at a modelling event on a different evening, were out in Pretoria when they were attacked
The interracial couple were in the queue to cash up their winnings at the exclusive Time Square Casino at 3am on July 11 when a white man flicked a lit cigarette towards Ms Ngomani.
German Mr Zehetleitner, 36, is the chief executive officer of the charity TMT Sports Group which was founded by his fiancée and helps poor children in townships.
He said at the time of the attack he was holding his fiancée’s hand.
He said: ‘I went over and asked this guy what his problem was and he pointed straight at Mirriam and said ‘What’s wrong with you man? You are dating a baboon, a monkey’.
‘Two of his white friends pulled him away but after we had cashed our winnings we had to walk past six or seven of these white guys and one called her ‘kaffir’ and ‘black b****’.
Mr Zehetleitner said when he confronted the group to explain their racist remarks they attacked.
‘Three jumped on me and all and were giving me a kicking on the ground and I saw Mirriam being attacked so shrugged these three off and bundled a couple of guys off of my fiancée.
‘Then they all attacked me at once. I can handle three but five or six or seven or however many it was was too much and I was beaten unconscious and when I came round they had all gone.’
Ms Ngomani, pictured in hospital, had her left leg badly broken in the early morning attack. She’s worried about the impact the injury could have on her modelling career
When he came to, Mr Zehetleitner, found his partner in agony, with her left leg badly broken.
‘The foot was pointing away at 90 degrees and she had been slapped round the face and been kicked.
‘She is in so much agony and has so many painkillers and has just had a major operation to fix her leg but the obvious fear for her as a model is will she be scarred or left with a limp.
‘Mirriam is known as the Catwalk Queen for her distinctive walk and teaches it to all the beauty pageant contestants and new models. She is the Naomi Campbell of South Africa.
‘But if she cannot walk properly or is badly scarred this could end her modelling career.’
Mirriam Ngomani is known as the Catwalk Queen for her distinctive walk. She’s worried the injury may leave her with a limp and scarring that could affect her career
Mr Zehetleitner, who is originally from Munich, said because the men were believed to be well-known sportsmen he expected an arrest would be made ‘very quickly’.
He said he’d gotten his lawyers involved and was prepared to ‘ruin their careers because they had no qualms about trying to ruin Mirriam’s’.
‘I have been asked not to say more until the police are ready to make arrests but these guys are rugby players from a well known rugby team so this is all very sensitive.
Because of the attack, Mr Zehetleitner said they had postponed their wedding.
He said it was not the first time they had been subjected to racist abuse in the area.
‘As an interracial couple we have never had any trouble in townships or in Cape Town or Johannesburg, but in Pretoria where we both live we get vile racist abuse all the time.
‘So many people see it is as wrong for a black woman and a white man to be together. How in this age can people call a black woman a baboon or a monkey or use the K-word?’
‘It is just so wrong to have to put up with this sort of racial abuse.’
Time Square Casino confirmed an attack took place at the entrance to the casino and general manager Brett Hoppe said: ‘Paramedics treated an injured woman at the on-site clinic’.
He said CCTV showed the first security officer was on scene within 20 seconds and within a minute he had been joined by six others who intervened.
Mr Hoppe said: ‘Time Square is currently reviewing all the CCTV footage for an internal investigation and we are supporting South African Police Service in their investigation’.
The model has appeared in the Hollywood film Hotel Rwanda, starring Nick Nolte, and in Lord of War with Nicolas Cage
Ms Ngomani who is a celebrity model in South Africa and has her own agency K-Mile Models said she was in a lot of pain after the ‘sick and disgusting attack’.
‘Doctors have told me that my leg is broken and will take a very long time to heal maybe as much as three months.
‘I am so scared and terrified that my legs have been scarred and I don’t know if I will ever be able to show them off again and do my modelling on the catwalk if there are bad scars.
‘They will have to pay for this as what they did was evil and I would like them to be put in prison and never come out. Why do they do this just because we are different colours?’.
Ms Ngomani has appeared in the Hollywood film Hotel Rwanda, starring Nick Nolte, and in Lord of War with Nicolas Cage. She is also one of the best known catwalk queens in South Africa.
Her agent Rre Moiloa said the men were briefly held for questioning but because the couple were on the way to hospital criminal charges could not be laid.
‘The names and identities of the perpetrators are known to the police and to allow the police investigation to continue we have agreed not to release [their] identities.’
But he said they were rugby players from a well-known rugby club and were well-known to the casino.
A South African Police Service spokesman confirmed the attack on Thursday last week and that they are investigating and said they would be no comment until arrests were made.
The couple have postponed their wedding as a result of the attack that saw Ms Ngomani’s left leg badly broken