Businessmen lay charges after court brawl
Two prominent Pretoria businessmen have laid assault charges against each other after they were embroiled in a brawl inside the North Gauteng High Court yesterday afternoon.
Pretoria community media mogul Nazeer Noormohamed and Ismail Abramjee, a legal consultant, were involved in an altercation just minutes after Judge Bert Bam had adjourned a lawsuit involving millions of rands.
The case in question revolves around millions of rands Seculo Printers is claiming from Noormohamed, a prominent ANC man and owner of 10 community newspapers – including the Laudium Sun, Lenasia Sun and Tshwane Sun – for printing costs.
Ismail Abramjee – the brother of Primemedia’s Yusuf Abramjee – was also in court yesterday as a consultant for Seculo in the matter against Noormohamed.
The latter was accompanied by relatives, including his sons and brothers.
After Bam adjourned the matter and he and a stenographer had left the court, City Press asked to speak to Ismail about the court case.
Three minutes into Ismail’s interview with City Press, Noormohamed entered the court room with his relatives in tow and sat briefly next to the reporter and Abramjee, apparently to listen in on what was being discussed about the case.
Noormohamed stood up and told the journalist to write that Ismail is a perfume thief whose son is a drug dealer.
A shouting match ensued between Ismail and Noormohamed, including his four relatives, and the City Press journalist was dragged out of the court by Noormohamed and a relative “to speak to you”.
But before the City Press journalist could be ushered out of Court 8G, away from Abramjee, Noormohamed went back to Ismail, questioning the latter about his involvement in the civil case.
A scuffle ensued between Noormohamed’s group and Ismail in full view of the journalist at the entrance of court.
Abramjee screamed for help from security staff, who did not arrive in time.
As the brawl continued, the City Press journalist was physically prevented from going back to the scuffle and was pushed out of the courtroom by one of Noormohamed’s relatives, who held the door closed from inside.
The journalist used the other entrance at the end of the court and gained entry.
The journalist found Ismail screaming into his cellphone as he was being punched several times.
Ismail screamed for the journalist to intervene.
When Noormohamed and his relatives saw that the reporter had managed to come back into the room, they let him go and made their way out of court.
Noormohamed and his relatives were seen leaving, using the stairs.
Clerks, lawyers and security guards came into the room and found Ismael out of breath, and helped him look for his spectacles and cellphone.
Ismail alerted security guards, who tracked down three suspects who were later apprehended by police.
Ismail’s brother, Haroon, said when Ismail went to the Pretoria Central Police Station to open a case, he could not breathe properly and had to be stretchered out before he could lay a complaint against Noormohamed.
The tensions between Ismail’s family, who had arrived screaming in anger, and the Noormohameds continued at the police station yesterday when a relative of Ismail’s threatened to “kill” Nazeer.
Haroon said Abramjee was admitted to a Pretoria hospital, where he was “stable” and expected to be released later today.
Noormohamed has claimed that Ismail had assaulted him first.
Both have since laid charges.