Avatar photo

By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

WATCH: Eight Saps VIP Protection Unit officers temporarily removed from posts

The VIP Protection Unit members assigned to Deputy President Paul Mashatile were captured on video beating motorists on the N1.

Eight South African Police Services (Saps) VIP Protection Unit members who assaulted civilians on a highway in Johannesburg have been temporarily removed from their posts.

The announcement was made by the National Commissioner of Saps, General Fannie Masemola, during an update on the incident on Thursday.

VIP Protection Unit officers removed

The assault by the VIP Protection Unit members, assigned to Deputy President Paul Mashatile, was captured on a widely-circulated video.

They could be seen brandishing rifles and pistols, and dragging passengers out of their VW Polo before kicking them as they lay helpless on the ground.

Watch the video of the briefing:

Police on Wednesday confirmed the members were served with suspension letters.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Blue light VIP Saps officers assault motorists


Masemola said all eight VIP Protection members have been temporarily withdrawn from their posts pending the outcome of the investigation.

“I want to reiterate that the Saps does not condone such behaviour at any point and we are saying that no amount of provocation can ever justify or validate what we saw on that video clip.”

Meanwhile, the Independent Police investigative Directorate (Ipid) spokesperson told The Citizen a case has been registered against the VIP Protection police members.

“A case has been registered at the Sandton police station last night. The charges include three counts of assault, pointing a firearm and malicious damage to property regarding the vehicle.”

ALSO READ: VIP Protection Unit officers served with suspension letters

Threats to motorists

Earlier this week, the Automobile Associations (AA) warned the vicious assault by the protection unit members again raises concerns over the threat the unit poses to motorists in the country.

AA CEO Willem Groenewald said the incident is “outrageous and deplorable”.

“In early 2022 we noted our deep concerns about the so-called blue light brigades and the threat they pose to road users.

“They are aggressive towards other drivers, often pushing them off the road to ensure their convoy has easy passage – many times through heavy traffic.

“We noted then, as we do again here, that anecdotal evidence points to members screaming at other motorists, showing their firearms to other motorists to intimidate them, and generally being belligerent when on the road.

“The latest incident is another example of a unit acting above the law,” said Groenewald.

ALSO READ: ‘VIP protection unit raises concerns of threats to motorists’ – AA

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits