Journalist claims assault by lawyer of Magashule associate
A senior journalist at Bloemfontein-based Afrikaans newspaper Volksblad was allegedly assaulted by a local attorney as she was putting questions to a man who is reportedly a close associate of ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule.
Marietjie Gericke reportedly told News24 a meeting was set up at the offices of Rossouw Attorneys so that she could put questions to local tycoon David Mothebe.
According to Gericke, she had questions for Mothebe about lucrative tenders his company received from the Free State Government in 2014 and 2015. She also had questions about Mothebe's alleged close ties to Magashule and his life partner, Lydia Motsemme.
Gericke said Mothebe agreed to meet her to answer her questions.
Instead, she said, she was met by a very hostile attorney Roelie Rossouw, who sat opposite her and Mothebe.
She was instructed not to address Mothebe or look at him.
‘I had prepared a set of questions and started to ask them, but Rossouw told me Mothebe wasn't obligated to answer them. He said I should ask the government about the tenders, not Mothebe. He said Mothebe didn't have to discuss his business interests with me.’
Rossouw told her that her allegations were unfounded.
She then asked if she could take pictures. When this request was met with no response, she took out her cellphone and took a picture of Rossouw, says the News24 report.
‘He (Rossouw) then bolted around his desk and grabbed me by the arm in an attempt to get to my cellphone.’
Rossouw then allegedly left the room with Gericke's cellphone and went to another office. She ran after him, shouting: ‘I've been assaulted! Give me back my phone!’
When Gericke finally got her cellphone back, she left the office and was followed by Mothebe.
‘He tried to calm me down and convince me to speak to Rossouw again, but I refused.’
She then attempted to take pictures of Mothebe, but he hid behind a tree before driving off in a Porsche 911 with no number plates. Gericke has since laid a charge of assault against Rossouw at the Parkweg police station in Bloemfontein.
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