VIP protection officers case postponed to allow lawyers to prepare

The case against eight men attached to Deputy President Paul Mashatile’s VIP protection unit has been postponed to Thursday.

Granting the postponement at the Randburg magistrate’s court on Wednesday, magistrate Hleziphi Mkhasibe said she was providing two defence attorneys a chance to prepare for a bail hearing.

The men first appeared in court on Monday after they handed themselves over to the police in Sandton on Sunday afternoon.

They face several charges including assault with intention to cause grievous bodily harm, after they were caught on video assaulting civilians on the N1 highway early in July.

Through their lawyers – Shadrack Kojoana, Matome Mampuru, Pomso Mofokeng, Madumetja Ramokhonami, Molefo Boshielo, Mpakamiseni Mkhize, Lesibana Rambau and Moses Tshidida – applied for bail saying they can only afford to pay R1 000 each. 

Their defence teams argued that their clients handed themselves over and if the bail is granted, they will not flee because they are the breadwinners for their families.

As the hearing continued, the lawyers for accused number one, two, three and four said information was presented in court by the state that they still need to view, understand, and then consult with clients.

Speaking about the accused unmasking themselves for purposes of identification, Mkhasibe said the court will decide on arrangements on whether to unmask the accused in the absence of the media on Thursday.

The VIP protection  officials, who have since been suspended from their jobs, have been ordered to remain in custody until their next appearance.

On top of a charge of assault, the group also faces charges of malicious damage to property, pointing of a firearm, reckless driving, and an attempt to defeat the administration of justice.

A civil rights organisation, Action Society, called for the accused to be denied bail, saying they are a threat to public safety.

Ian Cameron, director of community safety at Action Society, said members of the public will never feel safe to stop for the police after viewing the assault video.

“As a society, confidence in the police is at an all-time low. The Independent Investigative Directorate, the SA Police Service, and the National Prosecuting Authority need to stop treating these criminals like VIPs and start treating them like the criminals they are.

“Denying bail is the right thing to do,” said Cameron.


Follow @SundayWorldZA on Twitter and @sundayworldza on Instagram, or like our Facebook Page, Sunday World, by clicking here for the latest breaking news in South Africa.

Latest News