15 April, 2013 15 April, 2013

Anger mounts over East Beach jetski/surfer incident – Accused guilty of ‘several charges’ according to SAMSA

Jet ski driver Rudy van der Westhuizen could face ‘several charges’ according to the South African Maritime Safety Association (SAMSA) over the illegal use of his jetski in the surf at Port Alfred – this follows a scuffle he had with East Beach surfers on Sunday 6 April. There’s also been death threats by the accused as reported by Sunshine Coast journalist David Macgregor, who was at the scene of the scuffle and wrote this story which appeared in this weekend’s Daily Dispatch.

JETSKI RIDER PROBED AFTER BEACH SCUFFLE – by David Macgregor

It required a group of surfers to restrain the accused after a scuffle broke out over water safety.

It required a group of surfers to restrain the accused after a scuffle broke out over water safety.

Anger is mounting in Port Alfred after it emerged the jet ski rider who allegedly attacked surfers when they complained he was riding too close to bathers should not even have been on the water.

Although Joburg businessman Rudolph “Rudy” van der Westhuizen, 45, does have a valid skippers’ ticket it emerged during a meeting with police on Friday the jetski he was using was not sea worthy as it is registered for use on “inland waters” only.

It was not disputed the jet ski was being illegally used on the river and in the sea prior to the incident.

Police and Ndlambe municipal officials confirmed they were investigating several charges against van der Westhuizen for the illegal use of the jetski.

He faces a possible fine if found guilty.

The burly businessman allegedly attacked surfers when they asked him not to ride his jetski near children and surfers in the water at popular East Beach.

Visiting surfer Brent Hart – who is a partner in a Port Elizabeth security business – was punched in the chest and local Mike Varela hit in the face, headbutted and wrestled to the ground.

Van der Westhuizen only stopped the alleged attack when another surfer grabbed him round the neck in a headlock and held on until he let go of Varela.

The Sunday afternoon incident happened in full view of an off-duty Port Alfred policeman – Warrant officer Reinhardt le Roux – who was on the beach with van der Westhuizen.

Local police station commander Lt Colonel Lizette Zeelie confirmed on Friday an internal investigation has been launched into his conduct.

The meeting at her office involved surfers, van der Westhuizen, municipal officials, a local South African Maritime Safety examiner and a SAPS advocate.

It ended in deadlock when surfers refused suggestions to shake and make up with the jet ski rider.

Instead, they called for van der Westhuizen to be banned from using his jet ski anywhere on the Sunshine Coast.

The jet ski in question is not licensed for use in the ocean.

The jet ski in question is not licensed for use in the ocean.

They claimed he had been involved in similar incidents of dangerous and reckless driving over the years and numerous complaints made.

Attempts to get these previous incidents included on the record failed when surfers were told they were not relevant to the present complaint.

Local builder John Burman later wrote a letter to senior police saying although the delegation “appreciated” SAPS efforts to mediate they would now be consulting a top Grahamstown advocate to bring criminal charges for the alleged assaults and threats made on the beach.

An anonymous death threat was also made over the phone to Dispatch reporter David Macgregor and this is being investigated by police.

“I am not sure if this was correct ‘procedure’ for SAPS to mediate in such a matter but at least you tried,” Burman wrote.

During the meeting van der Westhuizen apologised for punching Hart and attacking Varela claiming he felt threatened by the group of surfers who asked him to move.

The surfers refused to shake hands or accept the apology.

Lindsay Timm, the mother of temporary lifeguard Josh Timm, yesterday confirmed she had written to the local municipality this week to highlight ongoing problems they had with van der Westhuizen riding among bathers.

“A man named Rudy Van Der Westhuizen needs to get some serious warning regarding his behaviour on his jetski and attitude towards the bathers and surfers at East Beach,” she wrote to officials.

“During December holidays he kept on coming into the swim zone on his jetski and did not listen to any warning from the lifeguards… He basically told the lifeguards to go fly a kite.”

davidm@dispatch.co.za

Sidebar:

According to South African Maritime Safety Association (Samsa) regulations van der Westhuizen faces several charges.

During Friday’s meeting local Ndlambe municipal official Willem Nel confirmed these included reckless driving and operating a vessel without a valid fitness test.

The status of the jetski was confirmed before the meeting by East London based Samsa official Captain Peter Kroon who said documentation showed it was not allowed in the sea or rivers anywhere on the Sunshine Coast.

Local Samsa examiner Derek Victor, who happened to be doing skippers practical tests from the East Beach pier shortly before the altercation, said he was “appalled” by the way van der Westhuizen was driving the jet ski near other people using the sea.

“I saw him narrowly missing surfers and bathers and have since made a statement to police.”

He told the meeting he saw several contraventions of Marine Notice 13 of 2011 including coming close to close bathers and surfers in a “dangerous and irresponsible way”

He said there was “no debate” over these issues and the sea worthiness of the jetski.

4 Comments

  1. Grant
    15 April, 2013 at 10:08 am · Reply

    I sincerely hope that justice is served.

  2. Bruce
    16 April, 2013 at 11:25 am · Reply

    There’s a whole ocean to go and stink out and be noisy in, but noo, no, let me go and drive my stupid machine right in among surfers and bathers. What do these okes think, do they think they are impressing, are they wanting to irritate, endanger, bully, cause kuk. Or are they simply too inbred or just simply stupid, to think of these things.

  3. east beach local
    18 April, 2013 at 11:20 am · Reply

    Jetski update:

    I dont know who the bigger tool in this whole jet ski saga is:
    bully boy Rudy van der Westhuizen or the surfer who got clocked.

    For years, this bald, grumpy kook has been mouthing off about East beach: moaning about this – complaining about that… blahblahfuckinblahblah.

    A prize doos, already despised by many for his kak attitude, when this Kowie Krusader stepped into the fray and mouthed off to fat jetskiman – like he is good at and has been doing to everyone else for for years – he probably did not think he would get whacked.

    Surprise, Surprise – he did and, you know what, the same locals who do not even like him to begin with because of his kak attitude stepped and saved him from getting a proper whipping and ending up in hospital.

    Simply put: it was the right thing to do.

    Since the incident the “victim” mouthed off about how usless the cops are etc etc. Everybody united and worked hard to try to get as wide and solid a case against jetski man as possible.

    The assault – a punch in the mouth, headbutt and choking – was key.

    Now it turns out according to the local paper the surfer with the biggest mouth
    decides he is not going to press any charges and has hung the very people who came to his rescue out to dry.

    Grow some balls you big mouth, if the okes in the Kowie didnt like you before – imagine what they think of you now?

    Thinking about it, the kowie surfers are probably not the only ones who think you are a doos now, the rest of the world now knows it too.

    • John
      18 April, 2013 at 5:26 pm · Reply

      Don’t talk about balls and then hide behind a pseudonym. Mike did the right thing when nobody else would. You should grow some balls.

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