‘Studio’ incident revived

2013-04-11 00:00

THREE years after the infamous “don’t touch me on my studio” incident, political analyst Lebohang Pheko has laid a charge of intimidation against Andre Visagie.

Pheko and Visagie were involved in argument on the set of Chris Maroleng’s programme Africa 360 following the murder of Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging leader Eugene Terre’Blanche in 2010.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday, Pheko said it was an issue of principle for her at a time when there were more and more media reports of violence against women.

The last she heard from Visagie, former secretary-general of the AWB, was on that night Maroleng uttered the now famous words.

“In all this time, he hasn’t made any attempt to apologise to me,” Pheko said. “I’m doing it now so I can be accountable to my children so that one day when they ask me what happened to that man, they will know I took a stand against him,” she said.

She said she was not comfortable with bringing the incident back into the public spotlight, but wanted to encourage others to take a stand against racism, sexism and violence against women.

“What does racism look like? What does sexism look like? To me, it looks like Andre Visagie.

“I’ve filed a case of intimidation at the Parkview police station [in Johannesburg] and I’ve been told it’s being investigated,” Pheko said. She is waiting to hear whether the prosecutor will go ahead with the matter.

“If it’s not successful, then that’s another debate, but I will know that I have done my part.”

Since that day, Pheko said, people who had bumped into her had often repeated the “don’t touch me on my studio” punchline, but she does not find it funny.

She said she thought about taking action soon after the show and had approached attorneys for advice. But the matter was put on the backburner when one of the attorneys she’d approached left for another project.

“A while ago, a lawyer reminded me about it and I decided to go through with it,” she said.

Visagie told The Witness yesterday that pursuing the matter in court would be “senseless”. He is now the leader of the rightwing Gelofte Volk Republikeine, having left the AWB two months after the death of Terre’Blanche.

“It’s very far-fetched for her to think that the courts will take her seriously after three years. I don’t think the NPA will allow this to go to court.”

He said that during the taping of the show, he was “repeatedly interrupted” and was not given a chance to speak.

“I warned them three times and said that if they interrupt me once more, I would leave the show. As I got up, I said to the lady that I was not finished with her, and the presenter [Maroleng] then got up and said ‘Don’t touch me on my studio’,” he said.

Visagie said he hadn’t threatened Pheko, but rather “told her” that he wasn’t finished with her.

He denied he was a racist.

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