Media can now report on Mashatile’s bodyguards’ assault case

The court’s decision in the case involving the eight bodyguards who were part of deputy president Paul Mashatile’s VIP protection has been modified.

The court ruled on Tuesday that the media can now report on witness statements (summaries); however, no images, videos, or audio recordings that reveal the identities of witnesses may be used.

Magistrate Abdul Khan also stated that direct quotes from witnesses would not be allowed.

This comes after Khan’s initial ruling, made on Monday at the Randburg magistrate’s court following a five-month postponement, that the media cannot report on testimonies from witnesses until the trial has ended.

Accused plead not guilty

The accused, who are charged with assault, causing malicious damage to property, and pointing a firearm, all entered not guilty pleas during their appearance before the first witness was called to the stand.

The accused handed themselves over to the police at the Sandton cop shop after a video of them allegedly assaulting the Polo Vivo occupants went viral on social media.

The attack on military police officers took place on the N1 highway in Johannesburg in July 2023. 

A civil rights organisation called Action Society stated that it was curious as to who was footing the bill for the accused’s legal representation.

“The fact that these men are still being paid their full salaries a year later has made it clear that corrupt police officers are being allowed to operate above the law,” said Action Society’s Juanita du Preez. 

“We demand to know who is responsible for their legal fees.”

Out on R10 000 bail each

Du Preez went on to say that the organisation demands that the accused’s employment with the SA Police Service be terminated with immediate effect.

“It is most likely [that it is] the hardworking taxpayers who are paying for their legal fees, which is unacceptable.

“You cannot expect taxpayers to foot the bill for violent criminals who have sworn an oath to protect and keep them safe.

“Their defence team has revealed their core strategy already, and that is to delay justice.”

The accused remain out on bail of R10 000 each. The trial continues.

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