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VIP Protection Unit cops in court: ‘Why we deserve bail’

Eight presidential protection police officers in the dock at the Randburg Magistrate’s Court.

Eight officers, part of deputy president Paul Mashatile's protection detail, make a plea for bail, facing multiple charges, including assault and brandishing firearms. Picture: Itumeleng Mafisa / ANA

Published Jul 26, 2023


The eight VIP Presidential Protection officers, arrested for allegedly assaulting a motorist on the N1 highway, made an emotional plea for bail during their appearance in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

The 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 — have been suspended from the South African Police Service.

During their first court appearance on Monday, Kojana denied assaulting the victims on the N1.

In a crowded courtroom on Wednesday, with faces concealed and hooded heads, the VIP Protection officers from Deputy President Paul Mashatile’s detail explained why they should be released on bail.

Their lawyer read each officer's plea into the record, arguing that they were not flight risks. They would not interfere with witnesses, and continued detention would impact their ability to contest the internal police disciplinary hearings.

The officers face at least 12 charges, including four instances of brandishing a firearm, two cases of intentional property damage, reckless and negligent driving, three counts of assault intending to cause serious harm, attempting to obstruct justice, and assault through threats.

The State has identified Kojana, Mampuru, and Mkhize as officers directly involved in the alleged assault.

Kojana maintains they were managing a dangerous situation and had reported the incident to their convoy commander, Lieutenant General Shange.

Prosecutor Elize le Roux argued that the accused had acted collectively and their violent behaviour warranted ongoing detention.

She stated that two women, one who filmed the incident and the driver of the VW Polo carrying the assaulted off-duty SA National Defence Force members, were living in fear.

The court heard that the VW Polo sustained nearly R95,000 in damages from the incident.

Le Roux also noted that Rambau, despite remaining in her service vehicle during the incident, was charged with failing to intervene.

The bail hearing is scheduled to continue on Thursday.

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