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Friday, December 8, 2023

Marathon attack: Man suspended from running club, no charges yet

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A Pretoria marathon runner, who allegedly attacked Communicare CEO Anthea Houston at the Cape Town Marathon on Sunday, has been temporarily suspended from his running club.


The man allegedly pushed Houston to the ground with his forearms, while she was taking part in a solidarity picket for Palestine in Salt River.


He allegedly went out of his way to push Houston, and the attack was, according to her family, completely unprovoked.


She fell back and hit her head on the road, which resulted in head injuries and a stay in hospital.


Photos and videos of the alleged attack were doing the rounds and social media.


The man’s running club, the Pretoria Marathon Club (PMC), said in a statement that any form of violence is inconsistent with the values and objectives of the club.


“The PMC management has accordingly invoked the disciplinary provisions of the PMC constitution to allow for proper investigation of the allegations and to secure fairness in the proceedings.”


The club also informed Athletics Gauteng North of the suspension and the allegations.


Meanwhile, Cape Town police say the assault case is still under investigation, and no-one has been charged yet.


In a statement, Houston’s family quoted an eyewitness to the alleged attack, Shamil Manie:


The runner was unprovoked. I condemn the incident in the strongest terms. It’s shocking that he showed no remorse and made no attempt to assist Ms Houston who was clearly injured as a result of his actions.


Her sister, Lorna Houston continued:


We live in a city that respects the right to demonstrate and express diverse opinions. Fascists are not welcome here. Bullies are not welcome here. Men who hit women are not
welcome in our city. What kind of man does this? We call on him to come forward and explain himself.

Houston has since been discharged from hospital.


Her daughter said she is still experiencing symptoms and the doctor advised that the symptoms will persist for some time so she is focusing on her recovery.


She has also thanked the public for the outpouring of support and concern for her mother.

We don’t understand why the perpetrator hasn’t been arrested but sadly this is typical of the slow pace with which cases of violence against women are treated. We call on Sanlam Cape Town Marathon to make a statement. We call on the attacker to come forward and explain himself. We demand his immediate arrest for the purposeful violent attack on my mother.


The General Manager of the Sanlam Cape Town marathon, Barry van Blerk, told News24 while they were aware of the incident, they will have not comment further, until the investigation has been concluded.

Liesl Smit
Liesl Smit
Liesl is the Smile 90.4FM News Manager. She has been at Smile since 2016, with nearly 20 years experience in the radio industry, including reading news, field reporting and producing. In 2008 she won the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award, Western Cape region. liesl@smile904.fm

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