Three white men have been charged with crimes ranging from common assault to attempted murder in South Africa after an alleged racially motivated attack on two black boys in a public swimming pool.
The men were filmed allegedly assaulting the teenagers as they tried to use the pool at the Maselspoort resort in the Free State province on Christmas Day.
The trio appeared to be trying to prevent the teenagers, aged 13 and 18, from swimming, claiming that the pool was reserved for white people.
In the video, which was reportedly filmed by a relative and widely condemned on social media, the men appeared to shout at the teenagers and hit them.
The men were filmed allegedly assaulting the teenagers as they tried to use the pool at the Maselspoort resort in the Free State province on Christmas Day
One of the men appeared to hold the 18-year-old boy’s head under water, while the 13-year-old boy was allegedly grabbed by the throat and pulled by the hair.
Further security video footage purports to show the men attempting to prevent the teenagers from entering the pool and the group of white people exiting the water as soon as the black teenagers entered it.
Johan Nel, 33, and Jan Stephanus van der Westhuizen, 47, have both been released on a warning and will return to court in the new year on charges of common assault and crimen injuria.
A third man, 48, has been charged with attempted murder for allegedly holding one of the boys under water.
Political parties and activists gathered to protest outside of the courthouse on Thursday, and the incident has been widely condemned, including by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The video appears to show the young child with a pair of hands wrapped around his throat
Brian Nakedi, who fought against the apartheid in South Africa in his youth, told the New York Times his 18-year-old son was one of the two boys in the now viral videos.
‘I became incensed. We have to relive the pain through our kids,’ he said.
Mr Nakedi, 58, said he and his extended family had booked three nights stay at the resort over Christmas. The resort, he said, is divided into two sections, and the campground side is generally frequented primarily by white people.
When the two boys opted to swim at the pool on that side of the property, he claims they were immediately quizzed by white guests, who told them they weren’t allowed to be there.
As tensions rose, he said the two boys left to speak to their parents, and Mr Nakedi joined them at the pool to confront the primary aggressors.
Mr Nakedi claims he thought the situation was resolved and assured the youths they were free to return to the pool, only for tensions to flare once more.
One of the men appeared to hold the 18-year-old boy’s head under water, while the 13-year-old boy was allegedly grabbed by the throat and pulled by the hair
The trio appeared to be trying to prevent the teenagers, aged 13 and 18, from swimming, claiming that the pool was reserved for white people
The teenager at the centre of the argument told the publication the man who allegedly held his head under water told him: ‘You’re fighting for the water; now you’ll die.’
President Ramaphosa said: ‘Under the rule of law, we must let investigations take their course.
‘But under the rule of law, we can and must also declare that racism has no place in our society and racists have no place to hide.’
‘As black and white South Africans, we should be united in condemning all manifestations of racism and attempts to explain or defend such crimes.
Separate security footage also showed the incident from a different angle
Further security video footage purports to show the men attempting to prevent the teenagers from entering the pool and the group of white people exiting the water as soon as the black teenagers entered it
‘Racism is not a problem to be fought by black South Africans only,’ Mr Ramaphosa said in a statement.
Members of the Economic Freedom Fighters party visited the resort and demanded answers from the manager, who claimed there was no racial segregation policy.
Racism remains a thorny issue in South Africa nearly 30 years after South Africa’s transition from white-minority rule, known as apartheid, to democracy.
In 2018, estate agent Vicky Momberg was sentenced to three years in prison for shouting racial insults at a black policeman in a landmark judgment that was the first to imprison a person for a racist act.
In 2020, Adam Catzavelos, a white man, was convicted of crimen injuria and given a suspended sentence after using racist slurs in a video that circulated on social media.