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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


VIP cops: Court hears ‘star witness’ in N1 assault case still unidentified

The VIP protection unit members made their fourth appearance in the Randburg Magistrate's Court on Tuesday where they were granted R10k bail each


The presiding officer magistrate  in the case against the eight South African Police Service (Saps) VIP protection unit members, said the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) does not know the identity of its star witness in the assault case against the protectors of Deputy President Paul Mashatile.

The VIP Protection Unit members made their fourth appearance in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday where they were granted R10,000 bail each on condition that they do not contact state witnesses – either directly or indirectly.

They are also not allowed to interfere with state investigations in any manner.

Rogue cops

Magistrate Hlengiwe Mkhabisi was scathing against the VIP members in her bail ruling, saying they “abused their power”.

“It is disheartening that the people we are supposed to depend on, have assumed the role of rogue police officials,”

However, Mkhabisi said the state put forth a weak and frail case and lacked sufficient evidence.

“The complainants did not identify the applicants. Not only that, the state has no intention of conducting an identification parade to enable the complainants to identify the alleged perpetrators.

ALSO READ: ‘They abused their powers’- Mashatile’s VIP protectors granted R10K bail

Star witness

Another hurdle that the state must overcome, is that they do not know the identity of their star witness who took the video footage at the crime scene,” Mkhabisi said.

“That witness we’ve already confirmed as the state that they want to remain anonymous. However they are known to the state through one of the state witnesses whom the originator sent the video to,” National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane told eNCA.

Assault

The officers have been behind bars for more than a week after they were arrested for being caught on video beating civilians on the side of the N1 highway, near Fourways, Johannesburg, last month.

The widely-circulated video on social media showed the VIP police officers – brandishing rifles and pistols – jumping out of a BMW X5 and attacking the occupants of a VW Polo.

They drag the passengers out of their car, and began kicking them as they lay on the ground.

The matter has been postponed to 27 September for further investigations.

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

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