A Queensland train guard says an attack directed at him was minor and he doesn’t think it was racist.
Josphat Mkhwananzi says he’s just a normal man who’s looking forward to getting back to work after a “minor” attack.
The humble Brisbane train guard was wheeled out to be commended by the Queensland premier, transport minister and his bosses in front of a media pack on Tuesday.
Premier Campbell Newman said Mr Mkhwananzi showed great self-control and discipline during a racist attack in which he was verbally abused and spat on earlier this month on a train.
“He actually continued to do his job protecting other passengers, who quite rightfully were outraged by what was being dished up to him,” he said.
“Today we of course reject what those individuals did and what was said, but today we’re here to really celebrate someone who has done a fantastic job.”
But Mr Mkhwananzi refused to condemn the attack, saying it was only minor and not racist.
“I don’t say whether they were right or whether they were wrong. I’m not the right person to condemn them,” he said.
“Personally, I don’t take it as a racist level. It happens in every society, every house, every nation, and it is in every country.
“This is too minor as far as I’m concerned.”
The guard said he was looking forward to getting back to work.
When asked how he felt about the outpouring of public support he’s received since the attack, Mr Mkhwananzi said: “I’m just a normal man.”
Transport Minister Scott Emerson said it was clear just how humble “Jo” was.
“If we could copy Jo, I know talking to his bosses here, they said to me earlier … if they could copy Jo they would and put him on all our trains,” he said.
The two teens at the centre of the attack faced a Brisbane court on Monday, after one of them filmed and uploaded video footage of the tirade, unleashing a furious community response.
Abdel-Kader Russell-Boumzar, 17, is accused of unleashing the abuse while his friend Bailey Clout, 18, laughed hysterically as he filmed the incident.
He’s yet to enter a plea to charges including serious assault and making threats. If convicted, he could be jailed.
Clout pleaded guilty to creating a disturbance and was fined $400.