Photo: GETTY
  /  12.29.2022

Three white men were charged with crimes, including attempted murder and assault, after attacking two Black teenagers in South Africa, ABC News reports.

A viral video posted to social media on Christmas Day (Dec. 25) showed the men violently attempting to prevent two Black boys from entering a swimming pool at the Maselspoort Resort located in Free State, a region known for persistent racial tensions.

The incident caused an uproar due to the extreme violence of the aforementioned white men. In the video, they attempted to strangle, slap and dunk the teens’ heads underwater. Further security surveillance showed the trio attempting to prevent the Black teens from entering the pool, then, as they managed to get in, another group of white people who were swimming promptly exited.

According to the news outlet, the suspects claimed they were stopping the boys not because of their skin color, but because the pool was reserved for resort clients.

On Tuesday (Dec. 27), South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said it was “deplorable that adults dealing with teenagers resort to violence with such disturbing ease.” “We must be united in ridding our society of the violence we see in the videos of the incident at the Free State resort, whether such violence comes with racism or not,” he added.

One of the accused, Jacobus Johannes Classen, appeared at a Bloemfontein court and was released on bail today (Dec. 29), the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said in a statement. He faces charges of attempted murder, assault and crimen injuria, an offense that means inflicting humiliation through obscene or racially offensive language.

The two other men, Johan Nel and Jan Stephanus van der Westhuizen, were charged with assault but were reportedly released on a warning Wednesday (Dec. 28). The case has been postponed until Jan. 25.

Unfortunately, South Africa continues to battle ongoing and deep-seated racism after transitioning from apartheid to democracy less than three decades ago. In 2018, in a landmark judgment, a real estate agent by the name of Vicky Momberg was sentenced to three years behind bars for shouting racial insults at a Black policeman, ABC News reports. That was the first person in South Africa to be imprisoned for racist verbal abuse. In 2020, Adam Catzavelos, a white man, was convicted of crimen injuria and given a suspended sentence after using racist slurs in a video that also went viral on social media, the site adds.

Watch the clip of the Black teens being publicly assaulted below.

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