Gym bans Mashatile associate for ‘homophobic’ assault incident

A former ANC Youth League member and associate of Deputy President Paul Mashatile has been banned from a Virgin Active gym in Sandton.

According to the gym’s Lonehill branch, Jacob Lekgwathi allegedly assaulted one of their receptionists over a R131 debt his son owes to the establishment.

Lekgwathi, who serves as a trustee for Manzi Mashatile Foundation, an organisation formed to honour the memory of the deputy president’s late wife, confirmed that “there was an incident”. He said it was between him and the receptionist, Musawenkosi Ximba, on January 11 this year.
Ximba told Sunday World that Lekgwathi assaulted him without any provocation when he told the businessman that he couldn’t issue his son a new membership card because he was owing R131.

This man hates because I’m gay

“He slapped me across the face and embarrassed me in front of my colleagues and some of the gym patrons. This man hates me because I am gay; he has been making some nasty homophobic jokes, like fetching prisoners to come and rape me,” Ximba said.

A case of assault was opened against Lekgwathi at Douglasdale police station.
Lekgwathi couldn’t confirm or deny that he was banned from Virgin Active.
“I can [however] confirm that there was an incident between the receptionist and myself at Virgin Active in Lonehill on the 11th of January 2024. However, due to the case still being investigated, I cannot divulge the details of the case,” Lekgwathi said.
He vehemently denied being homophobic.
“I have not been homophobic towards the receptionist or anyone in the LGBTQ community, nor have I assaulted the receptionist or anyone in the LGBTQ community on the premise of them being gay.” 
Ximba is adamant that Lekgwathi assaulted him “because of his hatred for gay people”.
“I didn’t do anything wrong; I just opened the computer to show him that there was an outstanding amount of R131.

Alleged assault captured on CCTV

“I explained that was the reason I wouldn’t issue a new membership card to his son. He then slapped me across the face without any provocation. Everything was captured on CCTV cameras.
“He has always made homophobic jokes about me every time he comes to the gym,” Ximba explained.
Ximba said he had no choice but to report the matter to the police.
Sunday World can confirm that police called the establishment on Friday, asking them to make the video footage of the incident available to them.

According to the Manzi Mashatile Foundation website, Lekgwathi was a “member of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) in Vosloorus, Ekurhuleni, and was later elected to the leadership of the ANCYL for the East Rand region. In 1993, he served on the Kathorus (Katlehong, Thokoza, and Vooslorus) Peace Committee, a structure under the Transitional Executive Council responsible for maintaining fair and peaceful 1994 elections.

Pre-1994 peacekeeping mission member
“He later became an active member of the Peacekeeping Force and the Youth Development Forum in 1995. In the same year, he became a member of the East Rand Regional Executive Committee and was elected as a regional treasurer the following year,” the website says.
Lekgwathi admits to his position with the foundation as indicated in its website: “I am the deputy chairperson of the Skills and Development subcommittee, as a trustee.”
SA’s ambassador to Venezuela and former MP, Lindiwe Maseko, is the chairperson of the foundation’s board. 
Virgin Active manager in Lonehill, Ray Pretorius, couldn’t be reached for comment, but three independent sources within the gym confirmed that Lekgwathi was banned from the establishment.

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