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Firearms and assault charges for VIP Protection Unit officers after N1 attack

Firearms and assault charges for VIP Protection Unit officers after N1 attack
Some of the eight VIP Protection Unit officers at the Sandton Police Station on Sunday, 22 July 2023, where they were charged with assaulting four people on the N1 in Johannesburg. (Photo: Leon Sadiki)

The eight VIP protection officers involved in a brutal N1 assault on motorists face serious charges ranging from assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm to the pointing of a firearm and malicious damage to property. They handed themselves in on Sunday night and appeared in court on Monday.

Assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm, malicious damage to property and the illegal pointing of a firearm are the charges being brought against eight VIP police officers who were allegedly involved in a brutal assault on motorists on the N1 in Gauteng earlier in July. 

Robbie Raburabu, spokesperson for the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), set out these charges and said the eight will be in court on Monday 24 July 2023.

Ipid started its investigation on 4 July. 

Raburabu added that the victims of the assault were traced to the South African National Defence Force headquarters in Thaba Tshwane where they are trainers. 

“The suspects will hand themselves over tonight at the police station where they will be processed in preparation for their appearance at the Randburg Magistrate’s Court tomorrow,” Raburabu said.

The eight police officers have been suspended in terms of SAPS disciplinary regulations since Monday, 10 July, SAPS national spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe said previously.

The officers are members of the SAPS Protection and Security Services programme attached to the protection detail of Deputy President Paul Mashatile.

vip protection

iStock | Deputy President Paul Mashatile. (Photo: Gallo Images / Beeld / Deaan Vivier)

They were caught on video by a motorist who filmed the attack on three people on the N1 highway between Johannesburg and Pretoria. 

The video, which grabbed the public’s attention on social media, shows how the police officers, driving a black BMW, stopped on the N1, dragged a man to the edge of the road and began punching and kicking him. 

The video also shows another man who appears to be lying unconscious on the side of the road.

Shortly after the incident, Mashatile’s office confirmed that the suspect belonged to his protection unit but said he was not in the vehicle. 

After the incident, there were several calls for the VIP Protection Units to be reined in. 

The officers will be named once they have appeared in court. DM

This article was updated to include an image of some of the suspects handing themselves in on Sunday night ahead of their court appearance on Monday. 


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    The really sad part is that articles like this even need to exist, and likely only exist because in this case the swine were caught on camera.

    Roger Waters – Yellow Rose: She’s the one one 50 million who can help us to be free; because she died on TV.

    Never a truer word.

  • D'Esprit Dan says:

    Good! Prison, hopefully. And disband the unit.

  • Peter Lor says:

    Reigned in? Rained in ? Reined in!

  • Andrew Launder says:

    On a more serious note !
    When are we getting Pecks or Red Roe Anchovy Spread again. It’s having a serious impact on QOL ?

    • Gavin Brown says:

      Gone forever I’m afraid ! However.. Woolies have come up with a lifesaver – look for Anchovy paste tubes in the fish section of your local store !!!

    • ANC must GO says:

      I’ve made this DM recipe so many times – Tastes just like I remember it

      Your homemade fish paste will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.

      1 x 120g tin of sardines in olive oil/vegetable oil

      8-10 brown anchovy fillets plus 5-10ml of their oil

      1 x 50g sachet of tomato paste

      Add the anchovies and 5ml of their oil to a mixing bowl. Use a fork to lift the sardines from the oil. Don’t add in the sardine oil. Add in about 4 teaspoons of the tomato paste. Use a stick blender to combine into a spreadable paste, adding in extra anchovy oil if the mixture is too thick. More tomato paste can be added for colour.

  • Sydney Kaye says:

    Imagine how many time this and worse has happened, before everybody had a cell phone. And of course any report or accusation without the video would have been denied.

  • Paul T says:

    This is good news. Next step find them guilty and fire them.

  • Trenton Carr says:

    2nd Criminal in command’s narrative has has changed from was not involved to was not in vehicle, wonder why that is.

    • Alan Watkins says:

      I am sure there is MUCH more to this. If DP was not in one of the vehicles, why was the convoy travelling with blue lights, sirens etc. ? I am sure we will find that DP WAS in one of the car. Now will that question be asked in court and will the protection officers answer?

  • John Georgiou says:

    Lots of noise and fuss now. IPID showing they are taking this seriously now but case will disappear once the media loses interest and incompetence of officials will result in case going nowhere and this behaviour will continue.

    • Jane Crankshaw says:

      This is absolutely what will happen. Just another Dog and Pony show to keep the SA public quiet! What is actually happening is that the ANC hierarchy are preparing, training and hiring a squad of Goons similar to the Wagner Group under the guise of SAPS Protection and Security Squad! This is just a small example of bigger violence to come. Be afraid…very afraid!

  • Erma Gardner says:

    Will they stand trial while still receiving their salaries? For “normal” people, “suspend” implies without salary but where anyone related to our government is concerned, one can never be certain. And could we please have their names?
    In the eternal words of George Orwell: “some animals are more equal than others”.

  • Jennifer Hughes says:

    Nice to see social media used for good. And thanks to the media and general public for keeping this kind of thing front row and centre. On of the ways we take back our country.

  • mike van wyk says:

    Our Constitution provides that the duty of the state is to protect citizens from harm. Here we have ordinary citizens going about their day on their way to their jobs – each having to wait their turn in heavy traffic – a daily reality for most who are employed. No matter the traffic conditions and what risk to others lives, the state official, with his/her entourage of blue light BMW’s and SAPS state protection deem it their absolute right to plough through traffic at speed and if anyone dare not immediately remove themselves from their path of destruction – they climb out and assault citizens while brandishing firearms till o citizen lays unconscious on the ground. What utter thuggery and what is driving this is the idea officials hold that they are above citizens rights and the law. Its a throwback to a feudal state in which ‘monarchs’ and their henchman have absolute power and can set their dogs on anyone they feel gets in their way or if they want some entertainment in the way of bloodsport. This level of thuggery is occurring at a regular level and mirrors the utter breakdown of state verses the people. It’s time to clean out the sewer that the state has evolved into. Hopefully justice will be served and these security personal sent to prison for a very long period. This thuggery must stop – no Minister or official is above the law and they are put into positions of power to serve the people – not brutalise the people. Thankfully this was filmed.

    • Thomas Cleghorn says:

      And it seems Deputy President Paul Mashatile was not even in the car at the time. Its all gone to these peoples heads. Everyone in politics and administration think they are minor pop stars.

  • Brian Cotter says:

    The video clip was shown extensively on international news programmes, BBC et al. The ANC is under pressure in every hard hitting news interview to explain the demise of South Africa. Failure to charge would have again brought interviews on International TV by opposition parties of why the incumbents were not charged.
    Locally we can only comment why it took so long to do it and add the odd snide comment like even the Alex Mafia want their name to be expunged from the record books to protect the alleged Don, the car owner, Deputy President Mashatile

  • Graeme J says:

    Why has it taken so long to charge these criminals?

    If they are found guilty by the court, they will lose their firearm licenses. This means they will become unemployable in their current jobs. In any case, they should have been sacked already. Labour law doesn’t require them to first be found guilty by the courts before they are fired.

  • Charles Guise-Brown says:

    The most telling thing about the ANC is that the deputy president has so far said nothing.
    It does make one wonder about how the ANC of 2023 sees its voting citizens and make you wonder why they would vote for the ANC

    • Raymond Auerbach says:

      The Deputy President made an immediate statement condemning the behaviour; reports made it clear they were on their way to pick him up. He has agreed that such behaviour is unacceptable. Please put the blame where it belongs, and allow the court process to take its course; hopefully it won’t take twenty years!

  • Rob Wilson says:

    It is a good start, which we can only hope is not just window dressing ahead of the next election. How can you profess to have a ‘we care for the people’ slogan while you knowingly engage in negligent if not criminal behaviour on the roads? This should be carried through to the rest of the blue light gangs who terrorise our roads with impunity. The officials concerned should be prosecuted as accomplices, as they are actually the root cause of the negligent driving. The excuse that they possess some sort of ‘advanced driver qualification’ and immunity doesn’t wash.

  • Robert Douglas says:

    Name & shame! Then ensure that the wheels of justice put those involved in this atrocity behind bars for several years on charges of attemoted murder ! Will our system work or are these further signs of us sinking into a morass of rule by force without any respect for the law ?

  • Neil Parker says:

    There are two ways to ensure the safety of VIPs. One is to arrange incognito travel and the other the “blue light brigade”. Invariably the latter is chosen because we desperately need to show everyone how very important we are. It’s very much the mentality of an arrogant ruling class and to them I hold up (unashamedly) the example of Ian Smith who (if he did not cycle) travelled to work in his Morris Minor. I do not remember ever noticing him or any other politician travelling in those days because they were happy not to be noticed. Glorious liberation followed of course and with it blue light brigades and thuggery.

  • Loren Anthony says:

    Where is our outrage? Where is our activism? We protest so vocally in the echo chamber of online comments, but why are we not marching in the streets? Our hard-earned tax money is paying a lifetime salary for the likes of Zuma; Mkhwebane will get her glorious golden handshake; the blue light brigade thugs will enjoy a couple of weeks of leisure time with full pay – and then will be back on the beat. Where is our protest? Why are we not taking to the streets en masse? I’ve yet to see one single call to arms by any SA organisation. We’ve been cowed to bloody grumpy comments and not much else.

    • Mike Waghorn says:

      I often ask the same question when reading through countless comments, mine included. We need someone to stand up and organise all of us “social media poster’s ” to action.
      Sadly, I’m not up to the job.
      Any volunteers? Anywhere? Anyone?

  • David Amato says:

    One always has to wonder if there was no video footage if it would have been swept under the carpet like was done with Collins Khoza during lockdown.

  • Bruce Anderson says:

    A deeper ‘review’ needs to be considered here.
    Why does Paul Mashatile need 8 off duty bodyguards?
    By extension, as best he as 12 or 16 contracted to him – why?
    Who is paying these staff?
    Why did these men decide to be so aggressive?
    Have any of the 8 (12,16 …) been involved in incidents before?
    How many bodyguards are employed to protects politicians?
    How many incidents have been recorded/settled?
    Is the public aware of these incidents/settlements?
    Who pays for bodyguards?
    Who pay for settlements?
    Who pays related legal costs?
    How many known incidents have been recorded/experienced/prevented as a result of having bodyguards?
    I could think of a few more questions but I am sure needs analysis will show that the vast majority are unneeded, badly allocated and simply an ego trip.

  • Gordon Bentley says:

    These blue light brigades are, decidedly, a whole heap of pig shit and must end.
    I was involved in a minor incident going down to Durban in my “boere bakkie” to pick up supplies. I was in the the right lane doing the mandatory 100 to 120 kph .
    When lo and behold an upmarket SUV driven by a lady appeared very quickly in my rear view mirror. She was expecting me to move over, then began to flash her lights at me, aggressively.
    This began to irritate me, I would move with no problem for normal drivers if the traffic situation was safe to do so.
    I then noticed she was about to pass me on the left hand side. I put pedal to the metal, giving my bakkie a big throat of diesel and blocked her from cutting into the right lane, ahead of me. I decided, “to hell with this government person,” who was a dangerous threat to me and other motorists.
    Not long after, I was delighted to note, she had been pulled over by the KZN traffic cops. I just had to go and put my oar in by saying that I would also like to add that she nearly caused a high speed accident by passing me on the left hand side.
    To cut a long story short I was told by the cops that they were dealing with this. They added that she was an important government ministerial assistant and had to be somewhere fast…
    I was not impressed. I suggested that she should be pulled off the road because she was a danger to me and other motorists, all because she could not get up early enough… !
    This did not impress the lady.

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