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Just In: Mashatile’s VIP Protection Unit Granted R10k Bail Each

Paul Mashatile’s eight VIP Protectors from the South African Police Service (Saps) have been freed on R10,000 bail each.

On Tuesday, the VIP Protection team members appeared before the Randburg Magistrates Court for the fourth time.

Eight VIP Protection Unit members appear at the Randburg Magistrate's Court. Picture: Michel Bega/The Citizen
Eight VIP Protection Unit members appear at the Randburg Magistrate’s Court. Picture: Michel Bega/The Citizen

Churchill Mpakameseni Mkhize, Lesibana Aggrie Rambau, and Moses Fhatuwani Tshidada are among those charged, along with Shadrack Molekatlane Kojana, Johannes Matome Mampuru, Pomso Joseph Mofokeng, Harmans Madumetja Ramokhonami, Phineas Molefo Boshielo, and Harmans Madumetja Ramokhonami.

Traffic violations, numerous charges of assault, malicious property damage, and the pointing of a firearm are among them.

The magistrate Hlengiwe Mkhabisi granted bail after stating that the state’s case was weak and flimsy and that it had been brought up too soon.

According to Mkhabisi, there is no proof that they would attempt to avoid prosecution because of their family.

“I have no doubt if the state conducts a thorough investigation a conviction might ensure at the end. However, with the evidence that has been presented before me, it would be a travesty of justice if I were to refuse the applicant’s bail.”

Mkhabisi said the VIP Protection officers who assaulted civilians on the N1 highway in Johannesburg abused their power.

“The applicants were in a position of power, they abused their powers, they misused police resources in a country wherein our communities are not receiving the proper police service they so deserve.

“It is disheartening that the people we are supposed to depend on, have assumed the role of rogue police officials,” Mkhabisi said.

Mkhabisi said the officers should have realised, in the absence of weapons, the complainants did not pose a threat to Mashatile.

“Had the applicants fled the vehicle, thereafter spoken to the occupants like reasonable police officers, and not acted aggressively, they would have discovered that they were mistaken in assuming that the occupants of the vehicle posed any harm to the person they were rendering protection to.”

The subject matter has been deferred until September 27 in order to do further investigation.

The officers have been in custody for more than a week already after being apprehended after being seen on video assaulting civilians last month on the side of the N1 highway.

The widely shared video on social media showed the VIP police officers rushing out of a BMW X5 and hitting the occupants of a VW Polo while wielding firearms.

They remove the occupants from the vehicle, kick them as they are on the ground, and then leave.

Mashatile acknowledged the incident, but he says he was not present when the assault took place.

According to Mashatile, who spoke with JJ Tabane, the incident was originally reported on social media.

“Protectors must respect the law, must obey the law. They are not a law onto themselves… Now that they’re in court, I don’t want to make many comments about that scene, except to say it is not true that I was there.”

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