Driver beaten to a pulp by armed VIP Protection officers in viral assault video says he thought it was a hijacking

Screenshots of the VIP Protection officers’ assault on L’vaughn Fisher

Screenshots of the VIP Protection officers’ assault on L’vaughn Fisher

Published Jul 6, 2023


"I am not okay," these were the chilling words of the driver assaulted by members of the SAPS VIP Protection Unit.

L’vaughn Fisher, a member of the South African National Defence Force, said he was struggling to open his swollen jaw and was in pain from the bruises on his head and face after he was hit with an assault rifle.

Fisher was speaking to Action Society, who has been officially mandated to assist him with criminal and possible civil charges against the officers, relevant commanders and Police Minister, Bheki Cele.

The video of the harrowing incident has since been shared thousands of times on social media. It shows a group of heavily armed men alighting from two black BMW X5s.

The men can be seen dragging Fisher from the driver's side of the vehicle and assaulting him. Two passengers, who have since been identified as military trainees, were also assaulted at the side of the road while Fisher lies motionless on the ground.

The guards then get back into their vehicles and drive off. The officers serve as the protection detail for South African Deputy President, Paul Mashatile.

Speaking to Action Society's Ian Cameron, Fisher said he was hit and kicked several times.

Recalling the attack, Fisher said he was hit over the head with an assault rifle and kicked in the head. He said he thought they were being hijacked and continued driving.

According to Fisher, he had no reason to suspect that the passengers in the BMWs were law enforcement as none of their vehicles had their blue lights flashing or sirens to identify them as police.

He said when a second BMW stopped in front of his vehicle, he was forced to the side of the N1 highway. Fisher said the officers' attempts to break through the front window failed but they succeeded in breaking the back window using a rifle and opened the driver's side of the door. He said he was then hit with the rifle and lost consciousness.

Police watchdog, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) has laid charges of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, pointing of a firearm and malicious damage to property at the Sandton police station against the group of VIP protection officers.

The officers have also been issued with intent to suspend letters.

National SAPS spokesperson, Brigadier Athlenda Mathe, explained that, in line with labour procedures, the officers will have the opportunity to give reasons as to why they should not be suspended under the circumstances.