Amil Umraw, The Witness
Pietermaritzburg - A man was stripped naked and beaten senseless before his attackers sprayed him from head-to-toe with white enamel car paint late on Wednesday afternoon.
After what started as a dispute between a local mechanic and his customers, Bilaz Asan, the mechanic’s employee, was beaten until he was barely conscious for “something he knew nothing about”.
The two attackers beat Asan with choppers, tools and a garden rake before stripping him in the front yard of the mechanic’s premises on Violet Road in Northdale, Pietermaritzburg. They then laid him down and used an air compressor to spraypaint every inch of his naked body.
The attackers then paraded the humiliated Asan on the busy road outside the house before he managed to escape.
The Witness visited Asan at Northdale hospital on Wednesday evening. Despite all their attempts, nurses had not been able to remove the paint from his body and Asan was passing in and out of consciousness allegedly as the paint had blocked the pores in his skin, resulting in increased body temperatures.
Trembling at the lips and unable to show any facial expression as the paint hardened on his body effectively gluing his lips shut, Asan was initially unable to speak to The Witness.
On Wednesday night, a nurse who asked not to be named said they would have to use turpentine to remove the paint but sensitive areas like his eyelids and inner ears would be extremely difficult to clean and the open wounds all around his body would make the procedure very painful.
The Witness visited him on Thursday and found him huddled up in a foetal position in the hospital’s bathtub as his brother gently tried to wash off the remaining bits of paint from his wounded body. About half his body was still covered in paint, but not as thickly as on Wednesday night and his face was mostly clean.
Asan said the attackers came to the premises and first attacked his colleague. They soon returned and this time attacked him.
“I cannot understand why anybody would do this to me when I had no idea what was going on. I’m still traumatised and in a lot of pain but it as not as bad as yesterday,” Asan said.
A red-eyed Asan said that he was terrified when the attackers came back and the “rest happened so fast.”
A resident who asked not to be named confirmed that the attackers, who had sent their car in for repairs some time ago, arrived earlier on Wednesday morning and attacked another mechanic, Pilandran Chetty, before coming back for Asan.
“I was looking for something in the van and they came from behind and hit me continuously on the head with water pump pliers,” Chetty said.
Chetty was rushed to hospital by his employers with open gashes on the back of his head and blood-soaked clothes. While they were at the hospital tending to Chetty, the two attackers went back to the premises and attacked Asan.
When the employer was alerted by concerned neighbours, he called the police and they arrived simultaneously at his premises, finding the two men with weapons in their hands on the front lawn.
According to the employer who asked to remain unnamed in fear of victimisation, one of the attackers was so unruly that police had to “use teargas to bring him to down”.
Another neighbour who asked to remain unnamed witnessed the attack said she had never seen anything so frightening before.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes. I felt so bad for him (Asan) but I couldn’t do anything because I was afraid of those men,” she said.
Both attackers were arrested and will appear in court on Friday.
Police spokesperson Major Thulani Zwane confirmed that the incident took place.