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BLUE LIGHT BULLIES

We were protecting SA’s second most important citizen, says Mashatile protection officer in highway assault case

We were protecting SA’s second most important citizen, says Mashatile protection officer in highway assault case
Eight Presidential Protection Service members appear at Randburg Magistrates’ Court on 24 July 2023. (Photo: Gallo Images/Papi Morake)

Eight VIP protection unit officers charged with assaulting four people on the N1 in Johannesburg appeared in the Randburg Magistrates’ Court on Monday. One of the accused claimed they were protecting ‘South Africa’s second [most] important citizen’.

Eight Presidential Protection Service officers attached to Deputy President Paul Mashatile’s security unit appeared in the Randburg Magistrates’ Court on Monday for a bail application after handing themselves over to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) on Sunday afternoon.

They face 12 charges that include malicious damage to property, assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm, pointing a firearm, reckless or negligent driving and an attempt to defeat or obstruct the administration of justice.

cop highway assault

Some of the eight Presidential Protection Service officers were charged at the Sandton Police Station on Sunday with assaulting four people on the N1 in Johannesburg. They appeared in court on Monday. (Photo: Leon Sadiki)

They were caught on camera allegedly punching and kicking four military trainees who appeared to have been dragged out of a Polo Vivo while travelling on the N1 highway in Johannesburg.

The eight accused are Shadrack Molekatlane Kojana, Johannes Matome Mampuru, Posmo Joseph Mofokeng, Harmans Madumetja Ramokhonami, Phineas Molefo Boshielo, Churchill Mpakamaseni Mkhize, Lesiba Aggrie Ramabu and Moses Fhatuwani Tshidada.

During the court appearance, magistrate Hlengiwe Mkhabisi expressed concern that the complainants had not clearly identified the roles of the accused, indicating that an identification parade had not been conducted.

However, State advocate Elize le Roux told the court that the State relied heavily on statements taken from the complainants and the officers, which were made soon after the incident had occurred, as well as the contents of the video, which placed the accused at the scene.

Le Roux added that supplementary affidavits may be taken from the complainants. Meanwhile, further investigations are set to identify what role each of the accused played.

The court heard that three of the accused were captured on video in the act of assault, while one member of Mashatile’s team remained in the car. It remains unclear what role the four other accused played as they were seen on video standing on the left side of the Polo Vivo driven by the victims. 

Seven of the accused are SAPS warrant officers and one is a sergeant. All are employed by the SAPS in the Presidential Protection Service unit and have been suspended on full pay.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Eight VIP protection officers suspended after Gauteng highway assault

While the video was said to have been captured on Sunday, 2 July at about 4pm, it only made headlines on the following evening. The incident ignited rage across South Africa, leading to calls to rein in VIP blue light convoys.

The four victims gave statements to Ipid, but the court heard that they feared for their safety. One of the victims, the owner of the Polo Vivo, is in the process of changing the car’s registration number for fear of being identified. The court also heard that the reported extent of damage to the Polo Vivo caused by the police officers amounts to R95,000.

Read more in Daily Maverick: ‘Problem officers’ in Mashatile’s VIP protection unit likely to get away with slap on wrist, say experts

The first accused, Shadrack Molekatlane Kojana, told the court that when the incident happened they were in a convoy of close to nine cars. 

“We stopped the Polo Vivo car because it came approaching from the back at a fast pace manoeuvring in between the convoy which is responsible for the Deputy President’s protection,” he said.

“We boxed the car or tried to move it to the side of the road so it wouldn’t get anywhere close to the car with South Africa’s second [most] important citizen. And it had seemed suspicious, so there was a voice communication from the radio that said, ‘Check the blue Polo Vivo.’ ”

Kojana said the video wasn’t a true reflection of what happened, as it had not captured everything that occurred.

He said they were trying to calm the situation when they stopped the car and the occupants retaliated when the police officers identified themselves and asked them to step outside the vehicle.

Kojana said that they had reported the incident to the convoy leader, a Lieutenant-Colonel Shange, when they reached their destination in Waterfall Estate, where Mashatile lives, about 40 minutes after the incident.

However, the court heard from the State that the incident was only registered at 11.45pm, almost six hours later, and that some of the details had been omitted from the report.

Kojana’s court statement has raised questions over whether Mashatile was in any of the vehicles at the time of the incident. His spokesperson, Vukani Mde, has previously said he was not in the convoy.

Among the many in attendance at court on Monday was the DA’s Gauteng leader, Solly Msimanga.

Msimanga said: “If Mashatile was not there and now the accused is saying they were trying to make sure that the car does not get to ‘important [citizen] number two’, what does that mean? I think South Africans are being lied to. We are going to be demanding the truth be told.

“I think there is a whole lot of things that have not been said and if indeed it is found out that the Deputy President lied to us and concealed a crime, that is an indictment on the second citizen of the country. We are going to dig deep and follow this very closely, even from a parliamentary level.”

The case was postponed to Wednesday, 26 July. The accused will remain in custody while the bail hearing continues. DM 

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Andrew S says:

    Is there anything in the Bill of Rights or the Constitution that declares one citizen is more “important” than the other because of the office they hold? Quite the opposite, in fact. This is the real heart of the issues we face as a country.

    • Bob Dubery says:

      The President has the ultimate executive power in this country. If something happens to him, or he’s out of reach for whatever reason, the VP takes over. These guys should get extra protection because of the chaos that will result if they get taken out or kidnapped, or even are the intended targets of an attempted attack.

      • Ryckard Blake says:

        “You do more damage to the state by taking out Matashile than you do taking out me”, you commented earlier. Not knowing you, I have to admit your statement may be true.
        But have you digested all the comments, and got a feel for how civilized democrats dismiss your “Big Man” views, before repeating your nonsense @ 14:58?
        If we’re talking about what’s best for The COUNTRY, SA would in my view be better off if Mashatile, Ramaphosa and the entire cabinet were suddenly and magically replaced by a selection of individuals randomly picked from SARS’s list of active taxpayers.

        • Bob Dubery says:

          I’m not really talking about Matashile, I’m talking about the role of President & VP. As a general rule the guys who hold such senior positions should get extra protection.

          When I was in the army we were told early on that the President is the commander in chief, and we always recognise his authority and show him respect, even if we think he’s a [very rude word]

          • Gerrie Pretorius says:

            Maybe when you were in the army, the ‘commander in chief’ deserved the respect?!?

          • Ryckard Blake says:

            Of course you should show him appropriate respect. Does your “general rule” cover a 9-vehicle convoy, bulging with brutes and thugs, on public thoroughfares during peacetime, with no threat of imminent general uprising? If yes, tell us you love to brandish a large pistol.
            Have you seen pictures of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands cycling (unescorted) from his home to his PM’s office? Ian Cameron and even Boris J cycling to the Houses of Parliament? All the Scandinavian premiers normally use public transport – see pix of them in trains, and waiting for a public bus to arrive?
            Seems to me there is a near perfect negative correlation between cost and flashiness of high-ups’s transport security detail, with the socio-economic success of the country, and the well-being of its average citizens. Which is the least broken, and best administered province in SA? The only one that has banned the thugs known as Blue Light brigades from its streets, except for the President’s escort. And that escort generally behaves itself in the Cape.

        • Gerrie Pretorius says:

          That sounds GREAT!

  • Jennifer Hughes says:

    What is this this bull about second most important citizen?! We are a democracy; that means all South Africans are equal! Act like it!

  • Rob Fisher says:

    All lies as always.
    Was Mashatile in the convoy of 8 or 9 cars. Or was he not.
    If he needs that much protection, what do the rest of the population need?
    “The four victims gave statements to Ipid, but the court heard that they feared for their safety.” You bet they do!

  • Ian Gwilt says:

    I thought that initially it was said that he was not there, if he was then he should be called to testify.

  • Danial Ronald Meyer says:

    MEMBERS of the blue-light brigade have misbehaved with impunity for far too long. This is an opportunity for the courts to punish these hooligans to the harshest extent possible, thereby sending a clear message to their colleagues that they are not the law or above the law, as they erroneously believe.

  • Joe Public says:

    The blue light brigade “pushed” me off the road and could are less if my car ended in a ravine! They become extremely aggressive and bulldoze their way under the guise of protecting VIP members. Utter nonsense and unnecessary. These men should face the music and be fired to set an example to other self-important blue light brigaders. The public have had enough of their antics and criminality!

    • Cheryl Siewierski says:

      Agreed. How is it possible that leaders of countries like the Netherlands can cycle to work without the ego-inflating farce of a protection fleet, but our own politicians require armies of mafia-style henchmen? I’m going to speculate that the difference is not really that the Netherlands is safer than South Africa, but that leaders like Rutte actually provide services and work FOR their country, while ours are apparently more committed to their space at the trough – needing protection from us angry, ‘less equal pigs’ [apologies to Orwell].

  • Jon Quirk says:

    So it is confirmed that Paul Mashatile WAS in the convoy after all.

    • Jon Quirk says:

      And we learn in court today that, the large, no doubt armour-plated vehicle that was transporting Paul Mashatile back home to, no doubt his bedtime cup of cocoa, was subject to several attempts, from the little blue polo, to bump him.

      Imagine that! A small flea trying to bump off an elelphant, and an elephant at that, protected by a further herd of six, heavily-armed, other elephants!

      It is high time these bumptious cretins were subject to the same deprivations that ordinary South Africans are forced to endure, whilst our erstwhile “political leaders” wallow in protected, fully paid for by tax-payers (except for the properties provided by corrupt friends) incredible luxury.

      Sack the lot Squirrel!!

  • Stefan Burwitz says:

    We are all equal under the law! What a pathetic excuse. Jail for the lot of you who showed no respect for others nor any remorse for what you did.

  • Alastair Moffat says:

    Was Mashatile there or not? Who is lying?

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    It’s very interesting that Mr Mashatile has not said one word in defence or accusation of this behaviour. His silence speaks louder than words to me!
    In my opinion, the reticence of both our President and Vice ( perfect description in my opinion lol!) to call out bad behaviour is indicative of their own morals and ethics!

  • Rory Macnamara says:

    George Owell, Animal Farm comes to mind. even the pigs got the upper hand. read into that what you wish!

  • Francoise Armour says:

    What’s the bet the cops will once again mess up the case so forcing the judge to dismiss the case?

  • colin89 says:

    Surely if the driver/occupants of the Polo were misbehaving so badly, a responsible police officer would arrest them and not beat them up and then leave the scene. If it was a convoy of 9 cars as reported, then presumably the other 7 cars proceeded without stopping. The convoy was therefore split up, giving the 2 cars plenty of time to deal with the issue in a professional manner. Does splitting the convey up i.e. removing 8 protection officers from the convoy, not place the rest of the convoy under undue risk? Or does it mean that there were a further 24 protection officers in the other 7 cars? There are so many holes in this story. The mind boggles.

    • Roy Haines says:

      Exactly. If there were 9 cars in the convoy and Mashatile’s spokesman has said that he wasn’t in one of them, then who was the 9 car convoy protecting? Or were they just out for a joy ride at tax payers expense and to see how many innocent motorists they could intimidate!

    • G M says:

      Okay, so having re-read all of that, it looks like this is what happened:
      – There was a convoy (almost 9 cars, whatever that means) protecting Mashatile.
      – there was a “problem” with the blue polo
      – one (or two) blue light cars stopped and attacked the polo while the rest of the convoy carried on
      – so Mashatile WAS in the convoy, but wasn’t there when the incident happened

      Naturally, Mashatile’s initial response was obtuse and deliberately omitted the fact that he had been involved in any way. It remains possible that he WAS still in the vicinity of the crime.

      The likelihood of a single civilian vehicle causing the kinds of problems alluded to by the accused is extremely low. It seems more likely to me that the blue Polo may have been responding to the aggressive driving of the convoy.

      Regardless of all of the above, there is no question that the behaviour of the accused was criminal and should be treated as such.

  • Robert Douglas says:

    Lies, lies, & more lies . This is a reflection of where we are as a nation. What we have been reduced to . And if number 2 was not even tbere, then we as a nation will have revealed a despicable truth concerning the morality of the present leadership !
    And the desperate need for change from tbis descent into terrorism & barbaric ways!

  • Alan Watkins says:

    “He said they were trying to calm the situation when they stopped the car and the occupants retaliated when the police officers identified themselves and asked them to step outside the vehicle.”

    Reports were that the 3 who were assaulted locked themselves in the car to protect themselves. The VIP goons tried to break the windscreen. That failed. Then they broke a back window and dragged the 3 out. Retaliation? Where?

  • Patrick O'Shea says:

    Besides everything else, how about showing some respect to the court and remove hoods and masks?

    • h_holt says:

      Seem to remember that Thabo Bester’s doctor girlfriend who initially appeared in court in a mask, was told to remove it so that it could be seen that the right person was there. Even if this was not the case, why should they be allowed to appear incognito?

    • John Smythe says:

      Hyenas only tough in numbers and with a gun in the hand. If the tables were turned, they’d be lying in the road in a fetal position quivering and crying for their lives to be saved if a loaded rifle was stuck into their faces.

    • Ryckard Blake says:

      I see the magistrate has on day 2 ordered the 8 accused to remove their masks. I hope he also instructed them to remove their hoodies.
      Surely if one is remanded to APPEAR in court, the purpose of appearance is largely obstructed by the accused covering their heads except for a narrow slit to see through. Attempts to DISAPPEAR should be countered even before “All Rise” is instructed.

  • Lisbeth Scalabrini says:

    Why 8 or 9 cars in order to protect ONE person? Against what or who?

    • Gerrie Pretorius says:

      Lisbeth – are you not aware of the continuous attacks on the cadres of the anc? These fools are attacked daily and they need the protection from ‘their people’. I am sure I read about attacks on ministers and other blue brigade passengers almost every day. Oh sorry – that’s only in the movies, not in democratic SA …

  • Marius Laker says:

    Amazing how all the criminals are using the corona masks these days to hide their face… It was also noticable at the US Capital “insurrection” where all the mostly anti-vaxxer Republican base were to happy to hide behind a corona mask…

  • Bob Dubery says:

    Didn’t Mashatile say he wasn’t in the CAR? If that’s what he said then he gets off on a technicality: He was in the convoy but not in the car. If he said he wasn’t at the scene then again, he gets benefit of the doubt: He was in another car further down the freeway and couldn’t know what was going on. If he was in the car that stopped (unlikely) then things get interesting.

    Does he deserve the protection for being the #2 Citizen? I think so. We’re not all equal.

    Think back to the murder of Chris Hani. If the victim had been some arbitrary black guy could the country have been plunged into civil war? Of course not. But if it was Hani (or, better still, for the plotters, Mandela) then it gets a lot more likely.

    You do more damage to the state by taking out Matashile than you do taking out me.

  • Bob Dubery says:

    I recall when Bill Clinton was here on a State Visit some years ago. I was out driving that evening, near the Wanderers, when a string of black Humvees with tinted windows came through a robot, turned right across the front of my car. They were travelling at speed and clearly were not going to let anything or anybody get in their way.

    Now, the way these convoys drive may be a problem, but it’s not a SOUTH AFRICAN problem.

    Though one hopes that when it’s the assistant to the deputy MMC for libraries in Johannesburg that that person is told to catch an uber.

  • Ken Randell says:

    “The first accused, Shadrack Molekatlane Kojana, told the court that when the incident happened they were in a convoy of close to nine cars. ”
    First off, does he not know how many cars were in the convoy or can he not count?
    Secondly, who on earth needs a nine car convoy for protection? Certainly no politician in South Africa is deserving of that, unless they fear their voters will turn on them??
    The statements made are by thoroughly mendacious persons and cannot be relied on for any truth.

  • cs0834815071 says:

    This incident was recorded by a private person with a camera in their vehicle The second most important person in the country was accompanied by at least 9 vehicles and not even 1 of these
    had a camera to record what happened earlier No dashcam no cell phone? I smell a rat

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    I do hope that if they are found to be lying – which it surely sounds like they are – that they will be punished appropriately for it.

  • Stanislaw Hohowsky says:

    What are these political clowns being protected from? What is the clear and present danger? What a waste of money, time and resources.
    Disgusting and to top it off the initial reports stated the this “second most important person” was not in the convoy. What a bunch of despicables

    • Gerrie Pretorius says:

      Exactly!

    • Brian Cotter says:

      It seems the enemy of these political clowns is the press. This was an attack situation. Car chases bring memories back of Princess Diana, and there was also lots of smoke and mirrors there.
      These car convoys also bring memories back of Elliot Ness in the Al Capone era. The press and TV stations must not be stopped from a best programme being a full history of the life and times of Paul Mashatile.

  • Matthew Quinton says:

    …”We are going to dig deep and follow this very closely, even from a parliamentary level”…

    An image of ANC members picking their noses in parliament springs to mind, and not a crumb of truth shall follow.

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