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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

VIP cops: Cele breaks his silence on assault of civilians

Cele told the portfolio committee why he had been silent on the matter since the video went viral.

Police Minister Bheki Cele has broken 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 has put the police on the back foot.

Cele was speaking during Parliament’s police portfolio committee on Wednesday.

The eight South African Police Service (Saps) VIP protectors of Deputy President Paul Mashatile were released on R10 000 bail each earlier in August.

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

Watch: Parliament Police Portfolio Committee briefing

Breaking the silence

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. 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 that 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.

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

VIP assault

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.

In the video, they can be seen dragging the passengers out of their car and then kicking them as they lay on the ground.

While Mashatile confirmed the incident, he insists he was not on the scene at the time of the assault.

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

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