TshwaneÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â mayor Gwen RamokgopaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s bodyguards assaulted and racially abused photographers and reporters covering the court appearance of her daughter, write Khethiwe Mabena and Werner Swart in The Times.
The bodyguards, employed by the Tshwane metro, refused to allow the media into the Hatfield Community Court, where the mayorÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s 18-year-old daughter, Lerato Angel Lephoko, appeared on charges of drug possession and assaulting a police officer.
She was arrested on Friday with five other pupils from PretoriaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s prestigious Pro Arte school in a drugs raid.
The Times photographer, Daniel Born, was attacked by LephokoÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s father, Allen, in full view of police officers, who did nothing to stop him. The bodyguards shouted racial insults at the media.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œYou are a racist for taking a picture of a black girl,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â one yelled at Beeld photographer Leon Botha, before pushing him against a wall and threatening to break his nose.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWhat kind of a black man are you for following a young black girl?ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â he demanded of SABC cameraman Meshack Mmekwa.
Lephoko, wearing large sunglasses, entered court from the holding cells and was sneaked out of the building through a back entrance, where a black BMW 7-series car with tinted windows was waiting.
On Friday, police allegedly found 10g of dagga on her and her schoolmates. Lephoko allegedly bit an officer who refused to allow her to use her cellphone after her arrest.
Magistrate Christopher Chokoe ordered her to complete a programme that includes drugs tests, counselling and a three-month anger-management course or, he said, she would be in serious trouble.
He told her to appear in court again on June 26.
But journalists saw none of this because a Ramokgopa bodyguard blocked the entrance to the court throughout the proceedings. When The Times asked the bodyguards on whose instructions they were acting, one said: ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWith that attitude of yours, I will not allow you into this courtroom.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Click here to read the full story, posted on thetimes.co.za.