Taxpayers not footing legal bill of eight SAPS VIP blue light officers accused of allegedly beating three men

A screenshot of the video that went viral on social media of the SAPS VIP Protection assault. Picture: Screenshot

A screenshot of the video that went viral on social media of the SAPS VIP Protection assault. Picture: Screenshot

Published Jul 26, 2023


The SAPS said it was not funding the legal defence of the eight VIP presidential protection services officers who are accused of assaulting three men in what has become known as the blue lights bullying assault on the N1 highway in Johannesburg.

This comes after concerns were raised that the officers, who remain suspended, were funding their legal defence with state resources.

They had also raised concerns that taxpayers were footing the accused’s legal bill.

Ian Cameron of Action Society, for one of the victims, had raised concerns that taxpayers were footing the accused’s legal bill.

He wrote to Police Commissioner General Fannie Masemola, seeking clarity on who is going to foot the bill.

“Taxpayers should not be burdened with the costs arising from misconduct by officials who were entrusted to safeguard our democracy,” he said in the letter to the SAPS top brass.

IOL approached national police spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe for comment on Tuesday night.

She said police had not been approached by any of the eight members yet, but they were entitled to representation under certain conditions.

“Members of SAPS are entitled to apply for representation at state costs but there are certain grounds on which such application can be declined and one of these grounds includes if a member of the SAPS exceeds their powers or acts beyond the scope of their duties,” Mathe said.

“The SAPS has not received an application from the eight members,” she said.

Lawyer Daniel Eloff, a director at Hurter Spies Inc, said he was representing L'vaughn Fisher, one of the three men allegedly brutally assaulted by a group of heavily armed VIP presidential protection officers. He says his client has expressed relief that the accused have finally been arrested and appeared in court.

The eight accused officers Shadrack Molekatlane Kojana, Johannes Matome Mampuru, Pomso Joseph Mofokeng, Harmans Madumetja Ramokhonami, Phineas Molefo Boshielo, Churchill Mpakameseni Mkhize, Lesibana Aggrie Rambau and Moses Fhatuwani Tshidada, appeared in the Randburg Magistrate's Court on Monday.

They are due back in court on Wednesday, where they will face charges of pointing of a firearm, reckless and negligent driving, malicious damage to property, assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, assault, and defeating the ends of justice.

Eloff said they had already issued Police Minister Bheki Cele with a letter of demand for damages to the tune of R1 million.

Eloff said Fisher was grateful that the criminal matter finally made it to court, but they were shocked it took so long.

“It took an astounding 18 days to arrest the perpetrators which were known to the police after the video was widely circulated on social media,” Eloff told SABC News.

“We were quite astounded that it took three weeks for the arrests to be affected, but he is relieved that criminal justice is now taking its course,” he said.

Eloff said more details pertaining to the case would be revealed in court in due course.

Action Society has demanded bail be denied for the eight officers and has called for their employment with the SAPS to be terminated with immediate effect.

All eight officers have been suspended pending an internal SAPS disciplinary process.

Cameron said the “blue light mafia” should also be charged with attempted murder for kicking one of the victims in the head “even after he was clearly unconscious”.

Earlier, the DA said it was making a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application for more information regarding the blue light bullies saga, and ActionSA said it wanted Masemola to act on allegations Deputy President Paul Mashatile had lied by saying he was not present when the alleged assault took place.

This came after one of the accused took the stand and told the court Mashatile was present in the convoy and had been headed to the Waterfall Equestrian Estate in a big convoy.

The case is expected to resume in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.