Houston was part of a pro-Palestine picket that was taking place along the route of the Cape Town Marathon. She was holding a sign in support of freeing Palestine at the time of the attack.
Houston is the CEO of Communicare NPC, a social enterprise that targets the housing crisis in Cape Town, South Africa. Houston helps build affordable social housing, and her company manages a portfolio of 3600 properties in the Cape Town Metropole.
Anthea and her sister, Lorna Houston, went to Salt River Circle, where the marathon would pass through, to support the Palestinian people.
Lorna describes the atmosphere with the runners as very encouraging, where many were shouting in support and some even wearing “Free Palestine” t-shirts.
“It was such a joyful morning to see that support,” Lorna said.
The runner who assaulted Houston is said to have been very purposeful and hit her twice. The runner hit her once in the chest with both arms, which caused Houston to fall. Houston was then struck in the head while she was on the ground.
Witnesses say the attack was unprovoked.
Houston’s sister Lorna described the assault, “And then you always find people that take things too far. This man hit her twice. He was very purposeful because if you run and then accidentally knock someone, that is one thing, but he hit her with both arms on the chest, and she fell and hit her head on the ground.”
The police did not arrest the runner and showed complacency with the situation, as Lorna described. Rather, observers are said to have tried to stop him, but he continued running the race.
Houston was taken promptly to the hospital following the situation. The extent of her injuries has not been released, but she had undergone a CT scan. She has since been discharged from the hospital but is said to be still experiencing symptoms.
Pretoria Marathon Club statement:— Yusuf Abramjee (@Abramjee) October 17, 2023
“It was brought to the attention of the management of the Pretoria Marathon Club (PMC) that one of its members, Gerhard van Rensburg (Mr Van Rensburg), is alleged to have assaulted a protestor, Ms Anthea Houston, whilst participating in the Cape… pic.twitter.com/7EVin1miUP
The runner who assaulted Houston is a Pretoria Marathon Club (PMC) member, which has since suspended him and released a statement.
“The PMC management has accordingly invoked disciplinary provisions of the PMC constitution to allow for proper investigation of the allegations and to secure fairness in the proceedings.” The statement said.
No charges have been laid yet, but the runner was identified, and the case will be pursued with the vision that law enforcement will take its course.