NTT Pro Cycling have confirmed that Nicholas Dlamini underwent surgery Saturday morning in a Cape Town, South Africa, hospital to correct a broken arm the 24-year-old suffered when he was manhandled by a park ranger.
In a social media post, the team said that Dlamini is currently recovering from the surgery and the team will provide a more complete update later.
Dlamini was training at the Silvermine section of the Table Mountain National Park near Cape Town when he was stopped at the side of the road and then forcibly seized by one of four SANParks rangers.
Video footage of the incident circulated across social media causing outrage, as it shows one of the park rangers pushing Dlamini up against the side of a Table Mountain National Park van. The park ranger then twists Dlamini's left arm behind his back until the sound of a 'snap' is audible.
Outrage over the incident was not limited to social media and the cycling community, however, as South African officials joined in condemning the incident and asking for an investigation.
Premiere Alan Winde called on SANParks to conduct a "thorough" investigation with "urgency."
"There must be consequences for the heavy-handedness with which the SANParks officials reacted in this situation," Winde wrote in a statement posted on social media. "Their aggression was not only evident in their attitude toward Nic Dlamini, but also towards the other cyclists on the scene who recorded the incident.
"No matter the circumstances, there is no excuse for this kind of reaction," Winde wrote.
Minister of Environment, Forestry & Fisheries Barbara Creecy wrote on social media that she had instructed SANParks to suspend all officials involved in the incident. She also called on the agency to implement an independent investigation.
"I have just visited @nic_dlamini in hospital and heard first hand his horrible experience," she wrote.
For their part, Dlamini's NTT Pro Cycling team stood solidly behind their rider, calling on SANParks to investigate the incident to take specific actions.
"NTT Pro Cycling would like to be clear that we fully condemn violence in any form and are all highly distressed to see our teammate treated in this manner," the team wrote in a public statement.
The team called on SANParks to account for "the level and scale of physicality employed by the officials in subduing Nicholas, which saw him fracture his arm ... there can be no justification for the level of violence meted out to him."
The team also called on SANParks to implement immediate disciplinary procedures against the officials involved and to make a full public apology "to both Nicholas, as well as the eyewitness, who was clearly intimidated by the officials while filming this incident."
In light of the "enormous response to the incident," the team also urged SANParks to "engage with the greater cycling community in Cape Town to forge a positive relationship for the future."
NTT Pro Cycling also asked SANParks to account for the injury the incident not only caused to the 24-year-old's arm, but also to his promising 2020 season.
"This is a major setback for the Capetonian who had been out on a training ride ahead of a hugely promising 2020 season," the team wrote in its statement. "The 24-year-old had just completed a very promising 2019 which included his first Grand Tour, the Vuelta a Espana, and he was looking at following that up with further participation in some of the sport’s biggest races in 2020.
"This unnecessary injury will now have a serious effect on that, as well as his chances of racing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games," the team wrote.
We can confirm that @nich_dlamini underwent an operation this morning on his broken arm at a Cape Town hospital.He is currently in recovery & we will provide a full update later.We want to thank everyone for their messages of support.December 28, 2019
I have just visited @nich_dlamini in hospital and heard first hand his horrible experience. I have instructed @SANParks to suspend all official involved and implement an independent investigation.December 27, 2019
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