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VIP Protection ‘blue light bullies’ served with intent to suspend letters

Screenshots of the assault.

Screenshots of the assault.

Published Jul 5, 2023


At least six of the Presidential Protection Services members caught on camera allegedly assaulting a motorist and passengers in a viral video, have been served with intent to suspend letters.

The incident took place on the N1 highway in Johannesburg, near the Tarentaal e-Toll.

Speaking to IOL, Brigadier Athlenda Mathe, explained that the officers have not been suspended but have only been served with letters of intent to suspend.

"They are not suspended. They have been served with letters from their employer with the intent to suspend," she clarified.

In the clip that went viral on Monday night, a group of officers are seen alighting from two black BMW X5s before they allegedly drag a man — presumed to be the driver from a blue VW Polo — and then assaulting him on the side of the highway.

The rest of the officers, some armed with assault rifles and firearms, continue to allegedly assault the man, who appears unconscious and his passengers.

Various political parties and advocacy groups have on Tuesday called for action from government. The Ladysmith community has also rallied behind the victims and offered financial support to ensure that justice is served.

Meanwhile, the Automobile Association was calling for urgent intervention, adding that the latest attack was but one of many perpetrated by “blue light brigades”.

AA CEO, Willem Groenewald, said in early 2022, the AA raised concerned about the behaviour of blue light brigades and the threat they posed to road users.

“They are aggressive towards other drivers often pushing them off the road to ensure their convoy has easy passage – many times through heavy traffic,” he said.

“We noted then, as we do again here, that anecdotal evidence points to members screaming at other motorists, showing their firearms to other motorists to intimidate them, and generally being belligerent when on the road. [Monday night’s] incident is another example of a unit acting above the law.”

Groenewald said despite repeated calls for proper oversight of the VIP unit’s operations this clearly has not happened, and the unit’s members continue to act with impunity, often considering other road users a menace instead of, rightfully, citizens they need to protect and serve.