A white South African man who was charged with attempted murder, after allegedly assaulting Black teenagers trying to use a resort swimming pool, was released on bail on Thursday, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said.
It comes a day after two other white men were charged with assault in the Christmas Day incident, and released on a warning.
The violent encounter, which was filmed and shared widely on social media, caused widespread outrage in the country, where racism remains a thorny issue nearly 30 years after the end of apartheid.
In cellphone footage, three men are seen shouting at the boys and hitting them. One of the men pushed one of the boys underwater.
Further security video footage shows the men attempting to prevent the teenagers from entering the pool and the group of white people that were swimming at the time exiting the pool as soon as the Black teenagers entered it.
Some eyewitnesses told media that the men told the boys they could not swim in the pool because it was for “whites only.”
Ramaphosa warns against racism
Following the incident, President Cyril Ramaphosa condemned the attacks. “It is deplorable that adults dealing with teenagers resort to violence with such disturbing ease,” he said.
“We must let investigations take their course, but, under the rule of law, we can and must also declare that racism has no place in our society and racists have no place to hide,” Ramaphosa added.
Members of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters party visited the resort in the Free State province on Monday in solidarity with the teens.
Several other political parties and civil society organizations also denounced the incident.
What happens next?
On Thursday, magistrate Loyiso Mzana expressed concern over Jacobus Johannes Classen’s safety before granting him bail.
He was charged with attempted murder, assault, and crimen injuria, an offense that means inflicting humiliation through obscene or racially offensive language.
South African news outlet Netwerk24 reported that the state prosecutor told the magistrate that one of the boy’s legal advisers was working on trying to restore calm in the community over the incident.
There were protests outside the court during Classen’s appearance.
According to police, Johan Nel and Jan Stephanus van der Westhuizen were released on a warning and were expected to be back in court next year.
“The two appeared in court on charges of assault common and crimen injuria, and the matter was postponed to 25 January, 2023 while being released on warning,” Police Commissioner Baile Motswenyane said.
The incident has also been reported to the South African Human Rights Commission.

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