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BLUE LIGHT BULLIES

Mashatile’s convoy was threatened by driver, trial of VIP protection unit members told

Mashatile’s convoy was threatened by driver, trial of VIP protection unit members told
Members of Deputy President Paul Mashatile’s VIP protection unit assault people on the N1 highway in Gauteng on Monday, 3 July. (Photo: Screengrabs from Twitter)

Defence lawyer Mswazi Makhubele painted a picture of a reckless driver who posed a threat to the presidential convoy and needed to be stopped.

The court case involving eight members of Deputy President Paul Mashatile’s VIP protection unit who were allegedly caught on camera assaulting the occupants of a car on the N1 highway in Johannesburg resumed in the Randburg Magistrates’ Court on Monday, 6 May after a six-month postponement.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Mashatile’s VIP officers show their faces for the first time, as court postpones case for trial in May next year

The authenticity of video footage of the alleged assault and alcohol bottles in the victims’ vehicle were central topics during this week’s court proceedings.

Watch: Motorist viciously assaulted by members of police’s VIP Unit | News24

In his cross-examination of the complainants, defence lawyer Mswazi Makhubele painted a picture of a reckless driver who posed a threat to the presidential convoy and needed to be stopped.

Makhubele said the driver’s blue Polo Vivo repeatedly obstructed Mashatile’s convoy as it wove in and out of it. He said the complainants’ narrative of what happened contradicted that of the accused.

The complainants reported that while they were on the N1 highway en route to Pretoria from Johannesburg, a black SUV drove alongside their vehicle and an occupant pointed a firearm at them. More SUVs boxed in their vehicle, forcing them to the side of the highway.

They said the SUVs’ occupants attempted to smash their vehicle’s windows and assaulted them. They feared they were being hijacked.

However, the accused claimed the Polo driver ignored hand signals to slow down and they boxed it in to prevent it from colliding with vehicles in the motorcade. They said they did this to protect South Africa’s second citizen, Deputy President Paul Mashatile.

Mashatile VIP unit in court

Eight VIP officers attached to Deputy President Paul Mashatile’s protection unit appear in the Randburg Magistrates’ Court. (Photo: Michelle Banda)

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.

They face a range of charges, including pointing a firearm, malicious damage to property, reckless and negligent driving, assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm, attempting to defeat the administration of justice and assault by way of threats.

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

The eight officers are out on bail of R10,000 each and returned to work after being suspended for 60 days on full pay. The case has been postponed until 29 July. DM

Timeline of events:

  • 2 July 2023, around 4pm: The occupants of a car are assaulted on the N1 between Johannesburg and Pretoria. The incident is reported by VIP unit members to convoy leader Lieutenant Colonel Shange. It is registered at 11.45pm on the same day, with some of the details omitted from the report, particularly the assault.
  • 3 July 2023, evening: A video of the assault captured by a witness, who wants to remain anonymous, goes viral after being shared on Facebook by Anton Philipus Jacobus Koen.
  • 4 July 2023: The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) and the SA Police Service begin an investigation to track down the VIP unit in the video and the alleged victims. Mashatile’s office confirms members of his protection unit were involved.
  • 5 July 2023: SA National Defence Union confirms that the men allegedly assaulted are SANDF members and one is a member of the union. The SAPS says a case against the officers attached to Mashatile’s security unit has been opened. Ipid conducts interviews with the alleged victims and SAPS members.
  • 5 July 2023: Koen receives a threatening message on his cellphone via SMS, which reads: “Good day Mr Koen, we do not take kind [sic] to the footage that you supplied the media. You have made a lot of enemies in specialised units. We will deal with you…”
  • 10 July 2023: The officers are placed on suspension with full pay.
  • 23 July 2023: The officers hand themselves over to Ipid.
  • 24 July 2023: The officers make their first appearance in court for a bail application.
  • 26 July 2023: The officers make a second appearance in court to continue their bail application.
  • 27 July 2023: The case is postponed to 1 August 2023.
  • 1 August 2023: The officers are granted R10,000 bail and the matter is postponed until 27 September 2023.
  • 27 September 2023: The matter is postponed to 9 November 2023.
  • 9 November 2023: The matter is postponed to 6 May for trial.
  • 9 May 2024: The matter is postponed to 29 July.

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Ann Bown says:

    Another ‘kicking the can down the road’ case!

  • Phil Baker says:

    I thought he WASNT in the convoy at the time – previous reports….

    ” South Africa’s second citizen, Deputy President Paul Mashatile.” Second Citizen – Jeez have we come to this?! WTF is a second citizen?

  • Lynda Tyrer says:

    They have had far too much time to get their own story off pat, what a lie, no matter how they try to cover it up they picked the fight with an innocent driver and they kicked the hell out of those from the vehicle. So now all of a sudden Mashatile was in the convoy because if I recall he said he wasnt anywhere near there at first, another lie. These bullies deserve what they get and I trust the judge hands them a hefty sentence.

  • Graeme de Villiers says:

    Hilarious in it’s brazen obfuscation of the truth, despite witnessees to the violence.
    The country’s second citizen indeed.

  • Andrew Wallace says:

    I would tend to side with the victims version of events.
    Some years ago, on the M2 heading east past Denver, i was in the right hand lane overtaking a number of vehicles when one of these blue light, black BMW X5, convoys came racing up behind me, flashing their lights for me to pull over.
    Well that wasn’t immediately possible as there were a number of vehicles in the middle lane. After some 200, possibly 300 meters or so, there was a gap and i pulled over whilst gesticulating with one hand – the response from the blue light bullies, was to hang out of the near side passenger windows waving their firearms at me and similarly gesticulating………well, i gave them the bird as they went on their hurried way to whatever VIP engagement they were racing to.

    Arrogant as hell these fine fellows……….i’m sure hundreds if not thousands of motorists have experienced the same or worse as suffered by the occupants of the Polo. If they were in the wrong, then by all means arrest them if necessary, but to beat them the way they did, not acceptable under ANY circumstances.

  • District Six says:

    I hope Koen will take the threatening sms further. These “specialised units” are public servants paid by tax payers. Securing a private phone number using state resources us illegal and a violation of POPIA. Especially when used to make threats. Thugs who bully citizens should be driven out of the public service at the end of a pair of handcuffs.

  • Geoff Coles says:

    The Defence lawyer maybe be correct, the driver could seem threatening to the ignorant… However, the actions afterwards, assulting the driver by SAPS thugs is the issue is it not.

  • Ken Randell says:

    Are there cameras used for traffic control/surveillance on that stretch of the freeway that could be used to verify the version of the vehicle being driven recklessly and a threat to the convoy? Or have those images been “disappeared”?
    And even if there was a supposed threat, having brought the vehicle to a halt, there was no justification for the brutalising physicality of the bodyguards’ behaviour – inklings of totalitarianism?

  • Gregory Scott says:

    What a bunch of thugs!
    I expected VIP security to be proud professionals.
    This bunch certainly don’t look the part, a few are somewhat porky!

  • William Dryden says:

    If anyone believes the story the VIP unit is spreading, then they must believe that the moon is made of green cheese.

  • Jennifer Hughes says:

    Even if the story of the blue light brigade is true (suspend your disbelief if you can), I’m pretty sure police officers aren’t allowed to break someone’s car windows in retaliation and assault the people who are ‘misbehaving’. Pretty sure, but what do I know.

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