Magistrate attacked in an alleged racist incident

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A 21-year-old Pretoria man who allegedly called a black off-duty Magistrate the K-word before smashing the windows of his car with a hammer has been denied bail in the Pretoria North Regional Court.

Jacobus Vermaak is facing charges of malicious damage to property, intimidation and crimen injuria, after he was arrested on Tuesday following the incident which took place on Monday near Montana hospital North of Pretoria.

The complainant, Magistrate Mphafolane Koma, a magistrate in Randfontein alleges he was attacked by the young white man for taking off first at an intersection after they both stopped at the same time.

Vermaak sped off after the incident but not before Koma’s 12-year-old daughter could write down his car registration numbers. That’s how the police nabbed him.

Koma says although he’s happy Vermaak has been denied bail, he is worried that his daughter bore witness to the incident.

“This thing happened in front of her and there was nothing major which happened which could have warranted the accused to do what he has done. This basically happened at a stop sign. I never said anything except my child was in the car. She’s still traumatized. I’m so disturbed because this thing has demonstrated this thing of racism.”

He says he was terrified by Vermaak’s actions. “What came in my mind was this question of racism in our country and also looking at him as young as he is, as to where does he get all these things. Before I could even know he was born in 1995, I could see that he was very much young. The reason he doesn’t respect me it’s because of my colour.”

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