Sick lawyer forces postponement of Mashatile’s protectors’ case

The court case against eight members of Paul Mashatile’s VIP protection team has been postponed to July 29 due to defence advocate Mswazi Makhubele being sick.

The men made a brief appearance before magistrate Abdul Khan at the Randburg magistrate’s court on Thursday.

Before the court adjourned on Wednesday for Thursday, Makhubele had complained about his health.

When the proceedings got under way on Thursday, he told the court that his health had worsened overnight.

The defence was expected to continue with the cross-examination of the first witness, who informed the court that his life changed after the VIP protection team assaulted him in July 2023.

Passengers attacked

On the day of the incident, the accused allegedly attacked passengers in a blue VW Polo Vivo on the N1 highway in Johannesburg.

Witnesses captured the incident on camera, and the video went viral on social media.

The accused face 11 counts, including assault with intent to inflict bodily harm, pointing of a firearm, and attempting to block the administration of justice.

They have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

When the case resumed on Monday after a five-month-long postponement, the magistrate gave an order that the media be forbidden from reporting on the proceedings.

He went on to say there would be no filming or taking of pictures in court, no use of the witnesses’ words for reporting, and no mention of their names until the trial was over.

However, that order was tweaked on Tuesday, and the magistrate said the media would only be allowed to report on what witnesses say in court with no video or audio of witnesses or their identification.

Rights group demands accountability

On Wednesday, 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.”

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