Polokwane Observer newspaper street seller, Life Mathikithela had to be rushed to hospital for medical treatment this morning (Friday) after a passing motorist allegedly sprayed him in the face with pepper spray while he was selling newspapers on the side of the road.
Mathikithela, who has been selling newspapers at the Corner of Thabo Mbeki and Webster street for more than eight years, claims he approached the suspect as a possible customer but was met with insults.
He alleges that there were two persons in the vehicle and that when he was about to walk away the person sprayed him in the eyes with what was identified as pepper spray by the medical practitioner that attended to him.
“My eyes and face were burning but luckily one of my regular customers, Edward Lamola came by and rushed me to hospital. I have been selling newspapers for over eight years now and have never been assaulted,” he stated.
He emphasised that he doesn’t know the suspect nor the registration number of the vehicle hence he was hesitant to open a criminal case. Provincial Police Spokesperson Monatse Mamabolo advised Mathikithela to open a case against the suspect for the Police to investigate. He further said the information he will provide can assist investigations.
Lamola, the Director of Supply Chain Compliance at the Department of Health, said he was surprised when he was told that Mathikithela had been assaulted: “When I stopped at the traffic light to buy newspapers, I was told about the incident. I rushed him to Rethabile Clinic and we were referred to Pietersburg Provincial Hospital. When we got there the doctors assisted him immediately.
“I buy newspapers from him every week and he is a good person,” Lamola stated.
Story & photo: ENDY SENYATSI