Zuma VIP-guards: vendetta against racetrack owner?

http://bit.ly/f0HNVo The full might of the State is being thrown into a court-case against one lone Durban citizen who, a bit in his cups,  had accidentially sloshed his drink in the vicinity of Jacob Zuma at a July racing meet last year– an accident which his VIP-guards claimed was a deliberate attack against the South African president…

An apparent vendetta is being waged against Durban racetrack owner Daryl Peense –  charged with ‘assaulting’ the president of South Africa. Peense admitted that he’d accidentially spilled whisky on the president at a July racetrack meeting in 2010, however he’d been drunk, Mr Zuma did not get wet  – and the president had also never lodged any complaints himself. 

 

Bullies – but why didn’t they secure the public gallery first?

However there’s more going on than meets the eye: the bodyguards are clearly behaving like the worst kind of bullies: they also assaulted press photographer Rogan Ward right after one former guard from their unit had testified against Peense on MarcPEENSE DARYL DURBAN RACE TRACK OWNER BULLIED BY ZUMA BODY GUARDSh 22 2011;  during the assault Ward’s sunglasses were damaged, he was manhandled, they forced him to erace his pictures, and they cursed Ward as a ‘racist’. They may may be overreacting to the fact that they themselves may have been careless?  The odd incident is in any case, not helping Zuma’s public image very much either: it has even made the international media such as the BBC

 

Peense facing tens of thousands of Rands in legal costs:

Mr Peense said that while the case is pending, the bad publicity is meanwhile losing is betting-business a great deal of credibility – and which is his only source of  income, namely:

 http://www.facebook.com/l/aaaacz2pd5L_uw94R-UzL4fFLgg/www.betting2win.co.za

He’s also worried about not being able to support his 6-year-old son in the meantime. He is issuing an appeal to members of the public to please give him any help they can. Email him at darylracing@yahoo.com  and phone him at  mobile number 071 777 3333

The case was remanded to April 19 to the Durban court for trial. A request will be lodged at that time for Mr Peense’s discharge.  Meanwhile Peense is facing tens of thousands of Rands in legal costs which he cannot afford.

‘It was an accident… never intended to injure the president…’

Peense, 31, told the court on March 22 2011 that while he admitted spilling his whisky, it was an accident, he was drunk and Mr Zuma did moreover, not even get wet. One of his presidential bodyguard at that time, Funani Edgar Nemaenzhe, said he “saw Mr Peense pour a drink from the balcony on to the president’s entourage during a race meeting in Durban last July.’ He also personally  believed that it had been done intentionally, telling the Durban magistrates’ court that “another guard had used his jacket to protect the president… ” (SAPA).  Mr Nemaenzhe also claimed that Peense ‘had smelled of alcohol and could not walk straight when arrested.” Peense is however not contesting the fact that he was drunk: he wasn’t charged with being drunk. The defendant’s lawyer pointed out that the president had not even lodged a complaint, and that the accused “didn’t intend to cause injury to the president nor to impair his bodily integrity in any way,” said Advocate Jimmy Howse. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12817517

VIP-cops act like bullies: force photographer to delete their picture,  cursed him as a ‘racist’…

Right after testifying at the Durban Magistrate’s Court, two of Zuma’s bodyguards then allegedly assaulted freelance-photographer Rogan Ward outside the courtroom, grabbing his camera and cursing him for a ‘racist.’  Journalist Yusuf Moolla noted that human-rights groups ‘reacted with outrage’ after the incident because similar incidents have happened before. Ward’s camera was taken away from him because he’d photographed the ‘vip-protection unit officers’. He was forced to erace the pictures.

Ward had taken pictures of Constable Funani Nemaenzhe, Zuma’s bodyguard at the time and the first witness to take the stand, when the vip-SAPSofficers  pounced on him. “On their way back to court I took pictures of them. My actions infuriated the two and they rushed towards me,” said Ward. He said they demanded his camera and manhandled him in an effort to take the equipment. “They grabbed me and forced me to let go of the camera. Then they disappeared with it. I rushed after them and was then forced to delete the pictures in front of them.” He described the experience as “completely ridiculous and ugly”.

“The two were not acting in their professional capacity. I was gripped and manhandled. They seem to behave as if they are above the law.” Ward said Nemaenzhe and his partner then returned to court as if nothing had happened. “They did not apologise and, just before they left, accused me of being racist.” Ward said his sunglasses were damaged in the scuffle. “I am not small, and I held my own and did not want to give them my camera, but I had to let go because they were putting so much pressure on the fragile equipment.” Ward was still deciding whether to lay charges, saying he had had similar clashes with the unit in the past, but no one was interested in seeing a case through. He said several people had witnessed the assault.

SAPS Colonel Vish Naidoo —  who confirmed that the VIP unit also fell under the SA police service, said he ‘could not comment on the incident as Ward had not opened a case.  If no case is opened, there is nothing to base my comment on.”

Increase in attacks on journalists by police:

Concerned at the attack, SA National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) chairman Mondli Makhanya said the forum had noted an increase in the number of attacks on journalists on duty by police.“We have written to the police and sought a meeting.” He said the forum regarded the behaviour of the VIP officers as unruly and thuggish. “When journalists and photographers are doing their jobs, we do not expect them to be harassed.”

VIP-unit is not above the law:

He said the unit was not above the law and had to abide by the standing rules on how police should treat journalists. “We condemn their actions in the strongest terms.”

Media analyst and former Freedom of Expression Institute director Ayesha Kajee said that “if Ward had not done anything illegal in taking the pictures, then the attack was a violation of his rights and a violation of the public’s right to know the truth.” Kajee said she wanted to see the authorities uphold the rights of the media and of freedom of expression. “I would like to see our courts and the justice system very carefully weigh the balance of freedom of the press on the one hand, and the right to privacy and dignity on the other,” she said.

Tuesday’s incident follows an attack on Masi Losi, chief photographer of The Mercury’s sister paper the Pretoria News, by police officers on February 4. Losi and executive editor Jos Charle were threatened with arrest after Losi photographed Pretoria Central officers arresting a suspected thief they had rescued from an enraged mob. –

The Mercury 

http://www.thestar.co.za/vip-cops-pounce-on-journalist-1.1045750?ot=inmsa.ArticlePrintPageLayout.ot 

 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12817517

About Adriana Stuijt
Retired South African-Dutch journalist formerly Sunday Times Johannesburg

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