Children standing on line to have their picture taken with Santa Claus at a shopping mall in South Africa’s coastal city of East London were horrified when Father Christmas left his seat to punch one of the onlookers.
The man has since laid assault charges against his red-suited assailant.
Eugene Henning, tells the local newspaper he was approached by his assailant when he was listening to the Salvation Army band playing Christmas carols.
The festively-clad figure told him to move on which he refused to do.
Only after he was assaulted did Henning learn that the man in the Santa suit was his former son-in-law.
Hemingways Mall in East London, who’d employed Gary Rusch to wear that suit say they’ve sacked him.
Parents say their children have been traumatised by witnessing the fisticuffs.
Hubert Mhambi says his children began crying when they did not get the picture they wanted.
He says no matter how upset Rusch was, he should have stuck to being Santa and kept his cool.
Instead he has embarrassed himself and upset children who came especially to see him.
The story comes as light relief to South Africans who have experienced a series of armed robberies at shopping malls during the Christmas holidays.