Smacking son leads to attack on father

Jaco from Uitenhage was attacked by a taxi driver and his “gartjie” after Jaco gave his son a hiding in public
Picture:Werner Hills

Boy, 4, traumatised as dad hit repeatedly with metal bar

A screaming young child watched in horror as his father was repeatedly whacked on the head and back with a metal bar allegedly by a “gartjie” who had taken offence to the man disciplining his son.

A day out for the dad, 35, and his four-year-old son took a nightmarish turn on Wednesday, when he was attacked on the corner of Western Road and Athol Fugard Terrace in Central after smacking his son on his bum for misbehaving.

Blood gushed from the wound on his head after the assault.

Two men were arrested in connection with the incident yesterday.

The enraged father, Jaco, had offered a R5 000 reward on Facebook earlier for information leading to the arrest of the gartjie and the driver of the Nis- san NV350 minibus.

Jaco and the child’s mother are being referred to only by their first names to protect the identity of the traumatised boy.

The self-employed Uitenhage dad took his son on a day trip to the beach and to visit his girlfriend, Liezel – the child’s mother – at her workplace in Athol Fugard Terrace at about 2pm.

Jaco and the little boy then decided to walk to a nearby shop in Western Road to buy sweets, but on their return, the child threw a “vloermoer” (tantrum), according to his dad, which prompted him to “smack him twice on his bum with my flat hand”.

“The next thing, there was a taxi parked next to us and the gartjie shouted to me ‘stop abusing that child’,” Jaco said.

“I shouted back ‘are you going to discipline him then?’ “With that, the gartjie climbed out of the taxi with a solid metal bar sharpened on the end.

“He walked towards me. “I stood my ground and then he swung at me, hitting me in the head.

“I instantly started gushing blood.

“But I was still standing, so he hit me again in the head.

“That’s when my son screamed blue murder.” Jaco said he had turned around and shielded his son as the gartjie allegedly hit him again on the right ear and back before jumping into the taxi, which sped off.

Jaco received eight stitches at Livingstone Hospital and then laid a criminal complaint at the Humewood police station.

“I was driving back to my girlfriend’s work after opening the case, when I spotted the same licence plate on a taxi in Western Road,” he said.

“I immediately did a U-turn and stopped behind it.

“But the driver and gartjie were new people and, when I asked where the other two were, the driver just laughed and said I would never catch those two – and then they drove off.”

The incident comes little more than a month after a high court ruling in October that the legal defence of “reasonable chastisement” is no longer acceptable when parents are accused of physically abusing their children.

Gauteng High Court Judge Raylene Keightley found the common law defence of reasonable chastisement unconstitutional.

The ruling was made in an appeal case involving a man convicted of assaulting his 13-year- old son and wife at their home.

Liezel, however, firmly defended Jaco’s actions, saying “my son knows how to throw a performance”.

She said: “I know Jaco and have been living with him for years – he would never hurt any child, especially not our own.

“I heard everything unfold as my office is by the window near the street where it took place.

“I heard [her son] performing, so I looked out the window and saw the taxi stop – the guy shouted at Jaco and climbed out of the taxi with the metal rod.

“When I saw him hit Jaco, I ran down the stairs.

“When I got to the street, Jaco was covered in blood – it was a terrible sight.

“If this guy thought he was standing up for my son, what type of lesson did he teach him by brutally beating his father with a rod?

“My son was terrified and is probably scarred for life after having to watch that happen right in front of him. He throws extreme tantrums, especially when he is tired from a busy day like he had.

“We hardly hit him – we will just give a firm tap, like to say ‘kom aan [come on], behave’,” Liezel said.

The owner of the taxi, Raaez Moodley, said he had already made contact with Jaco to resolve the matter.

“I called him [yesterday] morning to have this thing sorted out.

“I am the owner of the taxi and do not condone that type of behaviour.

“I spoke to the driver and gartjie about this and they denied blame, saying it was another passenger in the taxi that climbed out and assaulted him. So I don’t want to point fingers yet.”

Police spokeswoman Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg said the driver and gartjie would appear in court today on a charge of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

Clinical psychologist Ishaaq Lekganya, asked about the trigger for the attack, said: “There isn’t really a straight answer in this instance as I am unsure in what mindset the father administered the punishment.

“However, generally, between the ages of two to five years kids are learning to communicate, and as babies learnt that if they cried they would get what they wanted.

“But the best way for a parent to teach a child at this age is not to hit, but to get down to their level – kneel if you have to – and listen and communicate in simple English with your child to understand what they need.

“Also, don’t wait for the child to have a tantrum before you react.

“You need to intensify good behaviour by preparing the child.

“Tell them if they behave while in town, they might get something afterwards.

“Then they behave and earn that reward – instead of the parent trying to make a crying child stop by offering rewards.”

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