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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

VIP highway assault: Suspended blue light officials still get full pay

VIP Protection Unit officials who have been suspended following a brutal N1 highway assault, will continue to cash in on their full salaries.

The eight South African Police Services (Saps) VIP Protection Unit members who have officially been suspended after a video of their recent brutal assault of three civilians on the N1 highway, near Fourways, in Johannesburg, went viral, are still receiving their full pay.

VIP highway assault: Blue light brigade officials suspended

Saps national spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe confirmed on Monday this week the suspension of the VIP Protection Unit members assigned to Deputy President Paul Mashatile.

“All eight police officers involved in the N1 assault case have been suspended in terms of the Saps disciplinary regulations as of Monday, 10 July 2023. The Saps wishes not to discuss the matter further,” Mathe said.

ALSO READ: Eight Saps VIP Protection Unit officers suspended

paul mashatile VIP protection unit N1 assault Fourways
Members of Deputy President Paul Mashatile’s VIP Protection Unit are seen assaulting three men on the N1 highway, near Fourways, in Johannesburg, on Monday, 3 July. Photos: Gulshan Khan/ AFP and Twitter video screengrab

The eight men have been suspended from all police activities pending an investigation into the assault –which took place on Monday, 3 July — by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) and the Saps.

Suspended with full pay

It has now been confirmed that the suspended officials are still receiving their full salaries.

National Police Commissioner Fannie Masemola said it’s normal for members to be suspended with full pay.

“Yes, the members have to be suspended with a salary. For us, everybody who gets suspended goes on suspension with a salary. It’s an agreement that has been made at the Bargaining Council. They can’t be treated differently than others,” Masemola was quoted as saying by EWN.

Brutal assault captured on video by motorist

In a video clip of the assault which went viral, the armed officers can be seen dragging three males from a blue VW Polo before taking turns to violently kick the unarmed victims while they are lying on the road.

According to the SA National Defence Union (Sandu), the three victims are South African Defence Force (SANDF) members undergoing military police training.

WATCH: VIP protection unit’s brutal highway assault

Disclaimer: The following video contains graphic content.

ALSO READ:  ‘I am not okay’: Victim’s horror account of VIP blue light assault

Assault victim plans to sue Bheki Cele, Saps for R1m

The driver of the vehicle,  25-year-old infantryman L’vaughn Fisher, has since laid a charge of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm at the Sandton Police Station.

Fisher’s lawyer, Daniel Eloff, told TimesLIVE that the 25-year-old infantryman has started the process of suing Police Minister Bheki Cele and the Saps for R1 million.

The claim of the impending lawsuit is based on the psychological and physical trauma Fisher – who was left unconscious on the side of the road — suffered during the assault.

Eloff added that the “amount may be amended after all medical reports have been obtained”.

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