Deputy President Paul Mashatile has assured Parliament that he was not at the crime scene when members of his VIP Protection Unit allegedly assaulted three people on the N1 highway in Johannesburg.
Mashatile said he did not witness the assault by his security detail and only heard about it when he was already at home.
He said when Police Minister Bheki Cele briefed the National Assembly’s portfolio committee on police on the matter in August, he explained that the convoy of the president and his deputy would have a convoy of seven cars.
When the two cars pulled off on the road, Mashatile continued with his trip and went home and did not witness what happened.
Mashatile, who was answering questions in the National Council of Provinces on Thursday, said the vehicles that transport the president and him do not stop on the road for anything.
He said it would have been strange for him sitting in the car and watching members of the VIP Protection Unit assaulting three people on the highway.
“I want to confirm that, indeed, it is true that I was not there because the cars that carry the president and the deputy president don’t stop for anything. I am sure members know that. We don’t even stop in a red robot. It would have been very strange if my car has stopped there and I am busy watching what is happening. It would have been very strange.
“When I became aware of this incident I was actually home already because the car does not stop. You don’t see what is happening. This matter is now in court and it may be very difficult to engage on it. It is sub judice. When people appear in court and we are busy saying things, it’s a problem. But members can be assured that I was not there on the scene,” said Mashatile.
Members of the opposition said Mashatile must give full facts regarding the incident, but he insisted that it would be traversing a wrong area, as the facts are now before the court.
But he said he was prepared to come back to parliament and respond to any question on the matter once the case has been concluded in court.
The eight members of the VIP protection unit were granted bail by the court a few weeks ago.
The officers were arrested after the assault went viral on social media, causing a huge public outcry.