Hendrik Burger, the owner of First Response Security, a Swakopmund-based company, finds himself at the centre of a raging controversy following his arrest on Monday on charges of racism and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
Burger, 37, is accused of carrying out a racially motivated attack early on Saturday morning against 34-year-old Jordan Dengeinge, an engineer and senior manager at Husab Mine who resides at Vogelstrand – an upmarket suburb in northern Swakopmund.
Dengeinge says he lost a watch worth N$30 000 and a pair of glasses in the scuffle that ensued. He further claims that Burger stole N$7 300 from his vehicle, but no charges were laid in connection with the alleged theft.
Burger, who was released on N$5 000 bail on Tuesday afternoon apparently called the engineer a “kaffir” and reportedly told him that black people do not belong in such an upmarket neighbourhood.
An as yet unidentified female accompanied Burger at the time. She was questioned, but later released by the police.
According to Dengeinge the attack happened at about 02h00 in front of his own house. “I was driving from a friend’s house who stays about 12 kilometres from my house when I noticed that I was being followed. The attack happened while I was busy opening my gate.
“There were no questions asked or any exchange of words whatsoever between us. It happened so fast that I didn’t even have a chance to defend myself,” Dengeinge told New Era.
“I was driving from a friend’s house who stays about 12 kilometres from my house when I noticed that I was being followed. He attacked me while I was busy opening my gate,” he stated.
He says Burger handcuffed him and then called Nampol in Swakopmund to come and arrest him. “The police came and instead of arresting me, as he requested, demanded that he (Burger) un-cuff me. I was never humiliated like this before,” the traumatised man said.
He feels it is unfair that black people are still subjected to such demeaning treatment and abuse when out walking late at night or living in upmarket neighbourhoods, as if they could not possibly afford such comforts.
“He should have ascertained first whether I lived there. However, no one should be attacked like that, regardless of where he or she lives, or because of their skin colour. We are all Namibians,” he said.
Burger could face additional charges, as the matter is still under investigation by the police. Tuesday Swakopmund Magistrate Nelao Brown postponed his case until February 9.
When contacted for comment on Wednesday Burger said he plans to also lay charges against Dengeinge. “His accusations are completely false and I was advised to also lay charges against him, which I will definitely do today (Wednesday),” he said. It could not be ascertained whether he had indeed done so by the time of going to press.