Police to wear body cams after N1 VIP Protection assault
Police minister Bheki Cele said while deputy president Paul Mashatile had been part of the seven car convoy, he was not aware of the assault on the civilians.
MP’s questioned incidents similar to the VIP assault matter that go undetected because they are not captured on camera. Photo: iStock
South African Police Services (Saps) officers will soon be wearing body cameras following the assault of civilians by members of deputy president Paul Mashatile’s VIP Protection Unit in July.
National police commissioner Fanie Masemola and Police Minister Bheki Cele were grilled about the N1 attack during Parliament’s police portfolio committee meeting on Wednesday.
Members of Parliament questioned incidents similar to the VIP assault matter that go undetected because they are not captured on camera.
Masemola said a dispute over the legality of police officers wearing body cameras had been dealt with.
“That was eventually resolved by legal service at the Department of Justice through the law.
“Currently, we are compiling specs, we are going to buy them. It’s on our radar. It’s one of those things we are going to start implementing,” he said.
Masemola added the VIP officers accused of the assault would face internal disciplinary processes.
“We condemn the incident with the strongest terms possible. The necessary processes are taking place.
“Maybe we shouldn’t paint all police with one brush. When an incident happens we paint that it is all police.”
Cele sets record straight
Meanwhile, Cele has set the record straight saying Mashatile was oblivious to the assault on civilians by his VIP Protection Unit until he was informed about it.
Mashatile’s body guards were captured in a widely-circulated video on social media brandishing rifles and pistols – jumping out of a BMW X5 and attacking the occupants of a VW Polo in July.
The police minister said while Mashatile had been part of the seven-car convoy, he was not aware of the assault on the civilians.
“The DP was in the convoy, but not on the crime scene where I think two of his cars pulled off to deal with that matter. Talking to him, he realised at home that there were two cars that pulled off…[He] did not know until was told later that that incident has happened.”
Police on backfoot
Earlier, Cele broke his silence on the VIP protection unit case, saying the negative impact and narrative of the members assaulting civilians on the N1 highway in Johannesburg put the police on the back foot.
Cele told the portfolio committee he has taken note of comments regarding his silence on the matter since the video went viral.
“When the thing happened, I was out of the country, I was in Kinshasa, [DRC]. The acting police minister, the national police commissioner, Ipid and the deputy president have spoken on the matter. So, really there was nothing new.
“There was nothing new one would have come up with, other than fill the gaps, as one has filled the gaps in calling for the police to be cooperative on the matter and doing what they are supposed to do,” Cele said.
The eight South African Police Service (Saps) VIP protectors were released on R10 000 bail each earlier this month. The matter was postponed to 27 September for further investigations.