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8 VIP police officers charged and arrested for N1 assault

The eight VIP escort officers who were caught beating three civilians on the side of the N1 motorway earlier in July have been formally charged with assault, malicious damage to property, and pointing firearms, according to Robbie Raburabu, the spokesperson for the Independent Police Investigation Directorate (IPID).

The investigation is still ongoing as the IPID is waiting for reports from government institutions, Raburabu said in an interview on 702.

The suspects argued that their actions were justified because the victim’s car posed a threat to the convoy, he said.

Since the attack, the three victims have also filed charges against the police officers, but they have allegedly been banned from speaking about the incident by their employer, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

Public outrage

Before being charged and arrested, the eight officers were enjoying unlimited off time without taking a knock to their pay. This was met with outrage from members of the public, who were calling for the suspects to be charged and arrested.

Civil Rights organisation Action Society described the suspension as being little more than a “paid holiday,” according to IOL.

Responding to questions from EWN on the subject, National Police Commissioner Fannie Masemola said that it is normal for police officers to be suspended with full pay.

“Yes, the members have to be suspended with a salary. For us, everybody who gets suspended goes on suspension with a salary. It’s an agreement that has been made at the Bargaining Council. They can’t be treated differently than others,” he said.

Action Society’s Ian Cameron said that the suspension made a mockery of the incident.

“If you or I pointed a firearm at someone, we’d already be arrested and be begging for bail but because they are obviously a law until themselves, they can do as they please,” he said.

The situation reeks of political interference, Action Society said, as not only have the victims been stopped from speaking about the ordeal, the person who filmed the incident has reportedly also received death threats for publishing the video on social media.

These threats have been acknowledged by the police and are currently being “looked into,” said National Police spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe.

“One would expect the upper echelons of the defence force to stand by its members, supporting them in their time of need rather than aiding in the protection of the alleged assailants from the SAPS VIP Unit,” said Action Society’s Daniël Eloff.

“The truth must be brought to light, and the victims have every right to bring their personal experiences into public view.”

The eight suspects are scheduled to appear in Randburg’s Magistrates Court on Monday, 24 July, having spent the previous night in Sandton Police Station, and Action Society has called on the court to deny the suspect’s bail, according to EWN.



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