Eight VIP protection officers suspended after Gauteng highway assault

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SAPS has suspended the eight police officers caught on video assaulting three people on the N1 between Johannesburg and Pretoria.

The eight police officers involved in the N1 assault case in Gauteng have been suspended in terms of SAPS disciplinary regulations as of Monday, 10 July, SAPS national spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe announced.

“The SAPS wishes not to discuss the matter further,” said Mathe in a brief statement.

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

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 depicts armed members of the unit — who were driving a black BMW — dragging a man to the edge of the highway before punching and kicking him on the ground.

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

Hours after the video went viral on social media, Mashatile’s office confirmed that members of his protection unit had allegedly been involved in the incident.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate is investigating allegations of assault against the officers.

Community safety director for civil society organisation Action Society, Ian Cameron, complained that while the officers were suspended they were still enjoying their employment benefits. “Holiday much?” he tweeted. “We will continue to call for their arrest! If it were you or I, we would be begging for bail. The fact that they pointed firearms is already an arrestable offence. We have called for charges of attempted murder, malicious damage to property, intimidation and assault GBH to be investigated.”

The organisation has started a petition to call for the banning of blue lights for ministers.

All efforts to speak with the Victims had been abortive. There have been reports that they were barred from speaking to the media.