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3 men in South Africa charged with racist attack in a swimming pool


JOHANNESBURG — Three white men in South Africa have been charged with crimes including attempted murder after an alleged racist attack on two black boys sparked public outrage.

The men were filmed assaulting the black teenagers who were using a swimming pool at the Maselspoort resort in the Free State province.

The men were trying to stop the teenagers from swimming, claiming the pool was for whites only.

In the video, widely viewed on social media in South Africa, the men yelled at the boys and beat them. One of the men pushed one of the boys underwater.

Other security video footage shows the men trying to stop the teenagers from entering the pool and the group of white people who were swimming at the time exiting the pool as soon as the black teenagers entered it.

Police say Johan Nel, 33, and Jan Stephanus van der Westhuizen, 47, have been released on warning and are due to appear in court again next year.

“Both men appeared in court for assault and grievous bodily harm and the case was adjourned to January 25, 2023 when they were released on warning,” police commissioner Baile Motswenyane said.

The third suspect was due to appear in court on Thursday, where various political parties and activities were protesting outside the courthouse.

The incident was widely condemned, including by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“As black and white South Africans, we must stand united in condemning all manifestations of racism and attempts to explain or defend such crimes. Racism is not a problem to be tackled by black South Africans alone,” Ramaphosa said in a statement.

Members of the left-leaning Economic Freedom Fighters party visited the resort and demanded answers from the manager, who claimed the resort did not have a 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, real estate agent Vicky Momberg was sentenced to three years in prison for shouting racial slurs at a black police officer in a landmark judgment that was the first to jail someone for a racist act.

In 2020, Adam Catzavelos, a white man, was convicted of criminal insult and given a suspended sentence after using racial slurs in a video that circulated on social media.


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