American businessman in critical condition after attack in Joburg city centre

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Thomas Mobille is in hospital after he was attacked and robbed in the Johannesburg city centre. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)
Thomas Mobille is in hospital after he was attacked and robbed in the Johannesburg city centre. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

An American investor is in a critical condition in hospital after attackers used a brick to bludgeon him over the head during a robbery in Johannesburg two weeks ago.

Thomas Mobille, who is a partner at Limiar Capital Management, travelled to South Africa to meet with the management of listed companies about investing in the country. His company invests in global emerging markets.

His brother, John Mobille who arrived in the country on Saturday after hearing the news, confirmed the attack and said several of Mobille's possessions had been taken.

He said his brother was in the Intensive Care Unit at Milpark Hospital in Parktown and that the family had asked for privacy.

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One of Mobille's partners in the US contacted local businessman Jared Coetzer about the attack.

"He told me that Mobille has been attacked and was admitted at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital. He asked me to assist them with transferring Mobille to a private hospital. The man told me that he was informed though Facebook that Mobille had been injured.

"He said during the attack, Mobille was carrying his passport and someone identified him using his passport and alerted his family back home through Facebook. On Monday [last week], I then went to Charlotte Maxeke hospital where he was admitted. He was in the ICU ward with serious head injuries. I later spoke to his family back home and they sent me all his medical insurance papers that assisted him in being transferred to Milpark Hospital," Coetzer said.

Delayed flight

Coetzer said Mobille was transferred to Milpark's trauma ICU on June 18.

Mobille was supposed to return to the US on June 14 but his flight was delayed until the following day due to a technical issue.

"He checked out of Radisson Gautrain hotel, leaving his baggage with the concierge. He then took a Gautrain to Park Station. From Park Station he decided to walk to Maboneng. He was walking down Commissioner Street in Johannesburg, when he was attacked and hit over the head with a brick. Someone contacted the paramedics who picked him up and took him to hospital."

Coetzer said Mobille's wife, Marta, and his business colleague, Carlos, arrived in the country on June 18 and the US embassy has been contacted about the incident.

"At this stage, he is still in a coma in ICU and while prognosis has been positive, they (the family) will only know the true extent of the damage once he wakes up. They are hoping to keep him sedated and in an induced coma until swelling comes down and blood on [his] brain reduces," said Coetzer.

Milpark Hospital said it could not comment because it had to protect the patient's confidentiality.

US spokesperson Rob Mearkle said according to US law, no information regarding US citizens overseas may be released without a Privacy Act waiver.

"Therefore, we can only confirm to you that we are aware of the situation and in contact with relevant parties. In general, US embassies and consulates overseas, including here in South Africa, provide both routine and emergency services to Americans overseas.  We serve our fellow citizens during important moments and crises, including births, deaths, natural disasters, arrests, and medical emergencies," Mearkle said.

Police could not comment on the matter because they were not aware that a case had been opened.

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