Beeld photographer accused of assaulting security guard

A University of South Africa security guard accused of beating up a Beeld newspaper photographer has opened a case of assault against his accuser, Pretoria police said on Wednesday.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Annabelle Middleton said the security guard had opened a case of assault against the photographer at the Sunnyside police station on Wednesday.

Craig Nieuwenhuizen was the first to open a case against the University of South Africa security guards on Tuesday night after he was allegedly beaten by them.

This was when he and reporter Alet Rademeyer went on assignment on working conditions at the Es’kia Mphahlele building earlier in the day.

The pair had been denied access to the building by security guards because according to Unisa spokesperson Doreen Gough the building had been evacuated earlier in the due to a “minor incident”.

Middleton said no arrests in the matter had taken place.

“For the protection of staff and the public, security staff members were under instructions to limit access onto the premises.”

She said that while the institution was a public institution access to its properties was not unfettered. Restrictions could be applied to protect university property or to ensure the safety of staff and visitors.

She said that Nieuwenhuizen and Rademeyer had not followed protocols in seeking permission.

“Generally, permission is required from the department of corporate communication and marketing for media to enter Unisa property. It has been established that unfortunately no such permission was sought.”

According to the newspaper’s report, a security guard would not let the pair into the building. The guard then walked towards the main entrance of the building and the two journalists followed him.

Rademeyer said another guard stormed up to them and ordered them back to the gate, allegedly bumping Nieuwenhuizen on the shoulder.

A verbal exchange followed and the journalists started walking to the gate. At the gate, the guard allegedly grabbed Nieuwenhuizen at the throat and three other guards began hitting him.

The photographer took his pepper spray out of his bag and sprayed at his attackers to chase them away. They allegedly kicked him when he fell on the ground.

Gough said statements had been compiled and CCTV footage collected. She said that she could not comment on the incident itself as the matter was under investigation by the police.

Nieuwenhuizen’s editor said he was recovering from the beating.

“He’s been given off until the end of the week to recuperate,” said Peet Kruger on Wednesday.

Nieuwenhuizen required five stitches to his face above his eye.

Kruger said the university had apologised for the incident.

However Gough said that while the institution “regretted” the incident and considered it “most unfortunate”, there had been no apology, as such.

“We are supporting him [Nieuwenhuizen]. As Beeld, we don’t see it as an attack on an individual. We see it as an attack on journalism institutions and all journalists,” said Kruger. — Sapa

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