In a decisive move from the South African Police Service (SAPS), eight VIP Protectors involved in the N1 assault incident have been removed from their posts.
The members of Deputy President Paul Mashatile’s VIP protection unit were caught on camera assaulting three army trainees along the N1 highway in Johannesburg.
The incident has sparked a public outcry and reignited debates on police brutality and why people don’t trust police officers.
The National Police Commissioner, Fannie Masemola, has condemned the incident.
Masemola was providing an update on the incident at a media briefing in Vanderbijlpark this afternoon.
He says the officials will remain office bound pending the finalisation of the investigation into the matter.
Masemola believes that the Deputy President’s whereabout at the time of the attack remains irrelevant.
Mashatile has, however, denied being in any of the vehicles of his motorcade.
“I do not know if the Deputy President was in the vehicle or not. For me, that is not relevant, but what’s relevant is what our police members were doing this week. We have this alleged misconduct, and we have to deal with that,” he said.
The Independent Police Investigating Directorate (IPID) is investigating several charges against the men, including malicious damage to property and assault.
Civil action orginisation, OUTA, has called for an end to the double-standards prevalent in the police force when holding law enforcement officials accountable.
The orginisation has urged government to spend less money on policing and more on adressing abuse and corruption in the police service.
OUTA’S Wayne Duvenage has condemned the incident as the brazen abuse of power by law enforcement.
He says if an ordinary citizen had been caught instigating such violence, they would have already been behind bars.
The leader of Build One South Africa (BOSA), Mmusi Maimane, wants 99% of the VIP units scrapped.
He says convoys of luxury vehicles for ministers must also be done away.
Another civil rights group, Action Society, is circulating a petition, calling for the ban of what the organisation calls is the Blue Light Mafia.
Written by: Naomi Kobbie