30/01/2008 09:48 - (SA)
Nicolize van der Walt, Beeld
Vryburg - "Come, I'll beat you to death."
A motorist claims a Naledi traffic official said this to him during an argument about the traffic cop parking his car in the middle of the town's main road.
Henk de Jager, 32, and his wife, Elmarie, from the farm Leliefontein, were in town for business on Saturday and they wanted to get something to eat.
A traffic official had parked his car in front of the driveway to the KFC in the main road.
"I hooted at him, but he just got out of his car and made an obscene gesture. We stopped next to him and I spoke to him angrily," said De Jager.
The traffic official then threatened De Jager with death.
"I got out and approached him. He hit me on the chest. Then another person approached us from the side and hit me. I stumbled. The official held my hands behind my back while the other person beat me," he said.
A large number of curious onlookers gathered and encouraged the traffic official and the man beating him.
"I heard them shouting. I then really feared for my life," said De Jager.
Gerrit van Straaten and his brother Japie heard the noise from the opposite side of the road and came to De Jager's aid. Gerrit was also assaulted. Japie stepped in and the three men made their way to De Jager's car.
De Jager and the Van Straaten brothers went to the police station. Shortly afterwards the traffic official also turned up.
"He stood there laughing and boasted that his brother would get him out soon," said Gerrit.
The official also taunted eyewitnesses at the police station, threatening he would "get them".
A Beeld reader who happened to be at the police station said the "smiling traffic official" joked with police officials while the bloodied De Jager made a statement nearby.
"Shortly afterwards another traffic official turned up at the police station and scolded the policemen," said the Beeld reader, who wanted to remain anonymous.
De Jager, his shocked wife and the Van Straaten brothers went to hospital for treatment. "I suffered serious facial injuries," said De Jager.
David Sikhomba, the local traffic chief, had not reacted to Beeld's messages by late on Tuesday.
The police confirmed that a charge of assault with the intent to do serious bodily harm was being investigated against the traffic official.
The official had in turn laid a charge of crimen injuria against De Jager.