Neil Sonnekus has rubbished allegations that he is the owner of Cherry Online, the company developing the multi-million Rand Free State Government website.
Sonnekus and his brother Eben were assaulted in a Bloemfontein fuel station convenience store at the beginning of March, allegedly by Gauteng police officer Christoffel Neuhoff.
He was reacting to an article on the website www.2oceansvibe.com, which reported that Sonnekus owns the controversial company. “No, that is not true at all. I am employed by the company,” he told Bloemfontein Courant.
He said he is the main web developer for Cherry Online.
Sonnekus also says allegations by an anonymous “tipster” that he and his brother provoked Neuhoff are unfounded. He claims he, his brother and a friend were waiting for their food order when the suspect asked what they were doing there.
He says he told the suspect they were waiting for a food order. “He then asked why we haven’t paid and I said because we haven’t received our food yet. The next moment he suddenly just hit me,” he said.
Sonnekus meanwhile has still not returned to work. He has been booked off by a neurosurgeon due to swelling and injuries to his brain until 27 April.
“Luckily my boss understands completely and he told me I don’t have to stress about it, I must just get better. But we are in the process of launching a big project so this is a bad time for me to not be at work,” he said.
Neuhoff, a sergeant with the Boipatong Crime Prevention Unit, was arrested last month on charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. He is currently out on R500 bail and is due back in court on 13 May.
He previously declined an opportunity to comment to the media on the case.
The assault was captured on CCTV footage. Visit www.ofm.co.za to view the clip.