“It happened in a split second. It was a two or three minute argument and there is just nothing more I can say about it,” 36-year-old Andre van Deventer said of the incident with Gloria Kente last June.
“Gloria, I am really sorry about what I said and believe me we did have a good relationship, a lot closer than she made it out to be. We lived together in a house for five years and there was a relationship.”
On Friday, the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court found Van Deventer guilty of assaulting Kente and spitting in her face at the Table View home he shared with his then girlfriend Mariechin Pienaar.
Kente previously told the court he grabbed her pyjamas, verbally assaulted her and spat in her face.
He admitted to the crimen injuria charge but denied assaulting her.
After judgment was handed down, Van Deventer maintained he had not assaulted her and that the media had blown the incident out of proportion.
“I have got two coloured children. I am not a racist. that is the last thing I am. I was in an eight-year relationship with a coloured woman,” he told journalists, with tears in his eyes.
“I want my name to be cleared because I am losing business. I am a sales rep and I am losing business because of you guys.”
Van Deventer appeared to become more upset and shaken as he spoke.
He said he was thinking about attending an anger management course because he felt off-balance. He also wished to visit a doctor for a medically linked diagnosis for his anger, but could not afford to.
“I am going to turn my own life around,” he said.
Cape Town magistrate Alta le Roux ruled in Afrikaans that Van Deventer’s version of what took place during the argument was highly improbable.
She said the State had proved the charge of common assault beyond a reasonable doubt.
It was clear he had a short temper and felt nothing of showing how he felt in a physical way.
It was also strange that he could remember only certain aspects of what had happened, citing a hazy memory at times.
Last month, he admitted on the stand that calling Kente a “kaffir” was unnecessary, but said he had been fuelled by anger.
At the time, he said he was angry when Kente interrupted him while he was drinking beer and trying to connect an electronic device to a television.
He said he used the racial insult to describe her during an argument with his ex-girlfriend. The intention had not been for Kente to hear him, even though he was screaming in the bedroom.
Kente heard him, they started arguing in the corridor, and he insulted her again, this time to her face.
Afterwards, Kente reported having a stiff neck.
Le Roux said two questions came to mind when hearing the evidence: why would Kente open a case against Van Deventer if they had such a good relationship, and what would she gain by falsely implicating him?
The magistrate believed the injury of a stiff neck was in line with someone trying to pull back from an assault.
If Kente had made up the incident, it would have been easy for her to claim far more dramatic injuries than just a stiff neck, Le Roux said.
The Cape Town Equality Court, in a separate case involving the same incident, ruled on October 24 that Van Deventer pay Kente R50,000 in compensation.
Once Le Roux had handed down her judgment, prosecutor Andy Hess handed up Van Deventer’s criminal record for the purpose of sentencing.
The court heard that he had paid a R150 admission of guilt fine for a previous assault charge in November 2008.
“I will make a request to the court that we postpone this matter for the complainant [Kente] to testify in aggravation of the sentence and also for the correctional office’s report,” the prosecutor said.
The State has proposed that Van Deventer receive correctional supervision instead of a jail term.
The court will finalise sentencing on December 12.