Man attacked by MEC bodyguards: report

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iol news pic Siphosezwe Masango

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File picture of Mpumalanga human settlements MEC Siphosezwe Masango. Picture: Herbert Matimba

A Mpumalanga man was allegedly assaulted by the bodyguards of human settlements MEC Siphosezwe Masango, according to a report on Monday.

Gert van der Merwe, 38, was attacked at the Nkomazi tollgate on Thursday, Beeld reported.

Van der Merwe told Beeld how Masango's white Mercedes with flashing blue lights sped past cars waiting to pass through the tollgate on Thursday morning.

“The car passed oncoming traffic at high speed crossing over a solid line,” he reportedly told Beeld.

At the tollgate Van der Merwe stopped behind Masango and he shouted that the driver was reckless. He said Masango's car stopped when the boom closed in front of his car.

“When I wanted to pay I saw the driver and another man get out of the car. They walked to my car and shouted: 'What is your problem?',” Van der Merwe said.

One of the guards had a pistol in his hand and the other pepper spray.

Van der Merwe said he got out of his car to confront the pair, at which time a third person, believed to be Masango, also got out of the vehicle.

Van der Merwe was allegedly hit on the head and pepper sprayed.

“I knew I needed to get away and I pulled myself free.”

He said he ran towards the Kaapmuiden police station which was about 400 metres from the tollgate. The bodyguards ran after him.

Beeld published a picture showing Van der Merwe running with two men behind him.

In the meantime a traffic official from one of the accompanying cars led Masango from the scene and shortly afterwards the bodyguards returned and sped off.

Van der Merwe laid an assault charge at the police station and received medical attention.

The MEC's office did not respond to Beeld's enquiries for comment.

Violence used by blue light brigades have made headlines during the past year.

Earlier in July, bodyguard to KwaZulu-Natal's former social development MEC Meshack Radebe was found guilty of illegally discharging his firearm and his colleague was found guilty of negligent driving.

The bodyguard shot out the tyre of a Mazda car near Camperdown, resulting in the driver losing control and colliding head-on with a bakkie. Eight people were injured in the accident in 2008.

The driver of Gauteng local government and housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi's VIP vehicle stands accused of knocking West Rand teenager Thomas Ferreira off his motorbike.

The November 2011 accident left Ferreira comatose, brain-damaged and in need of long-term rehabilitation. He spent weeks in a coma after the accident, and faces expensive, long-term rehabilitation. – Sapa


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