9 May 2016
Saarah Survé, Stellenbosch Department of Journalism
Stellenbosch – Joel Paarwater (18), a first-year politics and psychology student at the University of Cape Town, was allegedly punched in the throat and jaw by a bouncer outside of Catwalk nightclub in Stellenbosch on Friday night.
Paarwater, who was visiting friends in Stellenbosch, was denied entrance into the club by the same bouncer. “My friend and I were at the front of the line for Catwalk and I handed the bouncer my driver’s license. He rejected it and I asked him why. He then threw my license on the ground.”
Paarwater went back to the bouncer and asked him to look at the license again. “I said, with all due respect, can you please just look at it. Then he hit me – for no reason at all.”
Paarwater’s friend, Jordan, saw the situation unfold and tried to jump in. “He tried to defend me, but the bouncer came at him and he managed to block his punch.”
Paarwater said that after the bouncer hit him, he walked away with his friend. “Two bouncers followed us, but soon realised that we were not going to retaliate and they let us be.”
“We were the only people not allowed to enter the club, and the only two non-white individuals in the line. They were considerably more accommodating to the white students trying to enter, as they were allowed in without checking their IDs, while we stood outside,” said Paarwater.
Paarwater decided not to press charges, because he believes that nothing will come from doing so.
Gian Brink, owner and manager of Catwalk, blamed the bouncers’ actions on the students and the bouncers themselves. He said that it is difficult to work with students, who are often rowdy, drunk or looking for a fight, and that the bouncers need to retaliate if they are threatened.
“I think I remember those guys from Friday night. They must have done something to piss my guys off,” Brink said.
The bouncers, who Brink prefers to call ‘doormen’, are hired from an outside security company, GCL Securities, and are there “to keep everyone safe from people who come to Catwalk with bad intentions”.
Normally, one bouncer verifies identification, while the other oversees.
“On a busy night, we will have up to six doormen. I can’t control what they do. They handle the situation in front of them. Sometimes the doormen need to restrain the students.”
“The doormen only do their work to make an honest living, but some people make it really difficult for them,” said Brink.
Brink said that at the end of the day Catwalk is his business and that he does not want to chase clients away. He wants the students to work with them and “come there for the right reasons so that everyone can have a good time and experience at Catwalk”.
This is not the first incident where a bouncer has assaulted someone outside of Catwalk.