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THE minister of police and a policeman are facing an R800 000 damages claim after the member of the VIP Protection Unit allegedly shot at a vehicle overtaking the cavalcade of Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe three years ago.
Denise van der Walt, of Boksburg, was a passenger in the car travelling on the N12 highway on January 3, 2009 when her son, Chase van der Walt, was wounded in an arm. She has instituted legal proceedings in the Pretoria High Court for the pain and suffering she had to endure as a result of the incident.
She stated that they were travelling towards Benoni at 3.40pm in her Volkswagen Golf. Her son was driving at the time.
While attempting to pass the official motorcade of Motlanthe, a then unknown policeman leaned out of the window and randomly opened fire with an automatic firearm at their vehicle. Several projectiles hit their vehicle, and her son was wounded in the arm, Van der Walt stated. According to her, she saw blood splattering on the windscreen and heard her son shout out in agony.
She said he, as a result, lost control of the vehicle and collided with one of the vehicles in the cavalcade, causing it to leave the roadway.
Van der Walt said their vehicle also came to a standstill, and members of the VIP Protection Unit dragged her and her son out of the car. They were forced to lie on the tarred road and were surrounded by a large number of policemen who aimed their firearms at the mother and son, shouting at them and threatening to shoot them if they moved or looked up.
Van der Walt said she was not allowed to help her son, who was lying bleeding on the road. She was told that she would be shot if she moved or looked up.
The woman said she was forced to lie there for about 20 minutes and she constantly feared her son would die. A paramedic arrived on the scene, she said, but was threatened by the police not to attend to her son.
A relative eventually arrived on the scene and insisted on helping Van der Walt and her son. Van der Walt said the police threatened to shoot the relative if he went near them.
The relative insisted on taking water to Van der Walt “even at the risk of being shot”. He managed to hand a bottle of water to her, but was not allowed near her son.
Van der Walt said her son was removed by an ambulance an hour later.
Yesterday she obtained permission from the court to go ahead with her damages claim.
The police, stating their intention to defend the matter, gave a blanket denial of the events.
Not date was set for the hearing.