Rustenburg assault suspects hand themselves over after 'social media pressure'

2016-09-26 22:11
 Jan Minnaar (68) after two men assaulted him at a petrol station in Rustenburg

Jan Minnaar (68) after two men assaulted him at a petrol station in Rustenburg (Facebook)

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Rustenburg – The two suspects allegedly involved in the brutal assault of a 68-year-old man in Rustenburg earlier this month have handed themselves over to police after immense social media pressure, a family member of his says.

On September 9, Jan Minnaar went to a petrol station with his two grandchildren, aged 11 and 3, to buy cold drinks.

According to Minnaar's daughter, Mari, reports from those who were present indicated that two men had allegedly intimidated two women who had children with them. The men allegedly parked their vehicles at the petrol station in such a way that the women could not leave.

Minnaar arrived and apparently asked the men to stop blocking the women. One of the men walked up to Minnaar and punched him once, while the other man punched him several times.

Minnaar was taken to hospital with crushed cheekbones. His nose and his eye sockets were broken. His jaw was also fractured. He has since been released from hospital.

"My father is doing better, but he still has no feeling in his face," Mari told News24.

Sources say both of the men, suspected of being involved in the attack - Gys Coetzee and Martin Coetzee - had handed themselves over to police following pressure on social media. A video of the attack was widely circulated, along with the names and pictures of the suspects.

"Their faces were everywhere. They couldn't even go to the gym without people recognising them," Mari said. The pictures of the suspects were shared more than 1 500 times on Facebook.

'Public support is amazing'

"The pressure was huge on them and they weren't left with much choice but to hand themselves over to police," she added.

She said the family members of the two suspects had also helped the police.

Helen Boomer, a businesswoman and activist, started a campaign to raise money for Minnaar's hospital bills, and for a reward for the arrest of the two suspects. She has already raised more than R22 000, with donors from the United Kingdom and United States also chipping in.

Mari said the support from the public had made the experience the family was going through a little easier.

"I just want to say thank you to the public. I know a lot of people saw my thank you post on Facebook, but there are a lot of others who also lend a helping hand who may not have seen it. The public support is amazing and, on behalf of my father and our family, we cannot express our gratitude enough," Mari said.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Kelebogile Moleko confirmed the arrests, saying both men had handed themselves over to police. The first presented himself to police on September 21, while the second suspect handed himself over a day later.

The two were expected to appear in court soon.

Read more on:    crime  |  social media

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