Cape Town - Star South African cyclist Nicholas Dlamini, currently recuperating following emergency surgery after his harrowing ordeal at the hands of South African National Parks (SANParks) rangers last Friday, has issued a statement.
In a video widely shared on social media, rangers can be seen aggressively shoving Dlamini into the back of a van after he apparently entered through Table Mountain National Park's Silvermine Gate 1 without making the required permit payment.
Writing on his Facebook page, Dlamini issued the following statement:
Many thanks for the huge number of kind messages following recent events. I am overwhelmed by the support offered by everyone at home and around the world, especially from the world of cycling. This has been an extremely upsetting experience and your support means a lot to me.
My first step was to undergo surgery and I am told that this went well, but the surgeon is unable to make a prognosis at this early stage. So, for the moment, I am unable to say when I’ll be back on a bike. My surgeon and the care team will be liaising with the NTT team doctor to establish this. For now, I need to receive expert care and physio at hospital or rest at home until I’m well enough to leave and make a statement to the police. I am not sure yet when this will be, but for now things are a little uncomfortable and I am still coming to terms with what happened.
I will be represented by the international law firm Norton Rose Fulbright following this terrible incident. Norton Rose Fulbright have enormous experience in dealing with contentious issues such as this and are currently dealing with Caster Semenya’s case against the IAAF. Our thanks for the many numerous offers for legal representation from concerned people willing to help me.
Lastly, with the help from my fantastic support team, my manager and the guys at NTT, I will be taking legal advice on net steps from Norton Rose Fulbright, and for this reason I hope you can understand why I cannot give any more detail to anyone at this stage. I look forward to giving you more detail as soon as I can.
During the scuffle, the sound of what appears to be Dlamini's left arm breaking can be heard after a ranger attempts to place Dlamini's arms behind his back.
The incident and subsequent rest and recuperation post-surgery is a major setback for Dlamini, who had been out on a training ride ahead of what promised to be a career highlight 2020 season.
The injury will have a serious effect on the 24-year-old's chances of representing South Africa at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games which get under way in late July 2020.
After visiting Dlamini in hospital, Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy instructed SANParks to suspend the officers involved.
SANParks is also in the process of appointing an independent service provider to conduct a preliminary investigation following the incident.
- Compiled by Garrin Lambley
This is what @SANParks officials have done to a potential Olympic athlete’s arm. @nich_dlamini WAS possibly going to be THE 1ST BLACK SOUTH AFRICAN to take part in the Tour de France you stupid assholes!!!!!!!! @CyrilRamaphosa @MbalulaFikile pic.twitter.com/lLS1EStpYK— Vanessa Sandes (@VanHaywood) December 27, 2019