Earlier this month, an alleged racist incident in Knysna Heights spread like wildfire online. Even Mayor Georlene Wolmarans seized the opportunity to publish an anti-racism press release.
Finally, the other side, is being told in more detail.
As Nathier Abrahams was given a spot to share his story, so must Justus Burger be given that chance. Unfortunately for Burger, news cycles tend to run hot for a few days and then cool down. He’s unlikely to receive the same attention but I can hope that my regular readers consider all points of view so as to make their own minds up.
Burger, a new resident to Knysna, has opened a Facebook page called Justus For All so that he can tell his side of the story. Below is my re-post of his article.
Was his intention to be a good neighbour and help an elderly man (not knowing whether or not the person he was helping had instigated the scene or not)? It has to be considered, as must the fact that there is no photo of him pointing the gun and that a Glock handgun doesn’t have a hammer that can be visibly seen to be “cocked”‘, as Abrahams stated.
The “elderly man” is Johan van Tonder, an ex-cop. As related previously to you (but only named now), Van Tonder was very uncooperative, alleging the incident never happened and that he’s a victim of mistaken identity.
Many of you will have opinions but it’s unlikely that there can be any concrete conclusion without decisions deeper investigation made by the Knysna SAPS and the Courts.
“Being tried by social media and pilloried by personal opinions is anything but fun as I have found out these last few days. On 4 January 2016, a Facebook post was made by a certain Nathier Abrahams wherein I was accused of pointing a firearm and racism. A photograph of myself was appended.
While it is so that an incident occurred on 31 December 2015, I certainly did not point my firearm at anybody and did not make any racial remarks. I did have my firearm with me when I went out to avert an imminent attack on an elderly gentleman (unknown to me) who was being accosted by approximately 10+ young athletic and angry males.
What is even worse is that Abrahams supplied his blog to media and a local newspaper carried it as a front-page article without any attempt to verify it or to obtain my side of the story. I am on the process of taking action in this regard.
To those of you who love to assume the worst, I ask you to consider the possibility that Mr Abrahams is pursuing his own agenda, whether to fuel racism, harm Knysna or to simply try and get in a sucker punch after the fact.
Let us not lose sight of the following facts: the incident happened on 31 December. Their vehicle, which had apparently caused the initial altercation between the elderly gentleman and the occupants of the guesthouse, was parked on my lawn at my invitation and remained there for the day. No charge was laid at the police. In fact, the occupants of the guest house continued with their holiday. Surely if they had felt that their lives were at risk they would immediately have taken action.
On 4 January 2016, Mr Abrahams posted his very thin on fact perspective on Facebook, accusing me of unlawful behaviour and racism. Until then, he still did not report the incident; instead, he ensures that maximum damage is effected by sharing the post as far as possible.
The media, in total disregard for the press code of conduct, and without any comment from myself, carried the story and published my picture.
Only on 5 January, apparently, as an afterthought, did [Abrahams] report the incident.
I have surrendered my firearm whilst the investigation is being made and welcomes the opportunity to clear my name which has been indelibly sullied by Mr Abrahams and his colleagues and commentators.
The entire incident was recorded as a VIDEO yet no picture of me pointing a firearm has surfaced for the simple reason that it does not exist. My firearm was at all times lowered and, once the imminent attack was averted, behind my back.
I am obviously taking legal action against those who have defamed and labelled me a racist and I simply ask that you all keep an open mind and let justice take its course.”