Johannesburg - The lawyer for the three victims of the N1 highway assault said the bluelight brigade should be completely disbanded.
Police on Monday announced that all eight VIP Protection Unit officers attached to a security detail for Deputy President Paul Mashatile that assaulted a driver and two passengers near Fourways, north of Johannesburg, were suspended.
The officers were served with a letter of intention to suspend last week after they were caught on camera assaulting the driver and two passengers; one was seen lying apparently lifeless (fainted). According to reports, the three victims are military trainees.
“All eight police officers that were involved in the N1 assault case have been suspended in terms of the SAPS disciplinary regulations as of Monday, July 10. The SAPS wishes not to discuss the matter further,” said SAPS national spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe.
Lawyer Ulrich Roux, speaking in an interview with one of the broadcasters, said their mandate is to ensure that a criminal prosecution ensues and that proper prosecution by the NPA is instituted against these police officials.
“Subsequent to that, we will also be exploring possible civil claims for damages against the police and the minister of police following this unlawful assault on our clients,” said Roux.
He said normally, when one sues the Minister of Police for malicious damage prosecution or unlawful arrest, then legal practitioners cite the ministers as well as the police as being in fact the employer of the SAPS, saying that is the standard within the law.
Roux said they will institute civil claims for damages against the policemen in their personal capacity.
“We still need to take instructions, and now our mandate is to first ensure that a prosecution ensues and that the NPA does prosecute the matter properly after the police, or Ipid in this instance, has investigated the matter, and subsequent to that, we will pursue a damage claim.
“There is no instruction on that yet, but normally when you institute a civil claim for damages against the police, you institute that action against the policeman in their private capacity as well as against the minister of police,” said Roux.
Ipid spokesperson Robbie Raburabu confirmed that they are investigating the case.
Ministry of Police spokesperson Lirandzu Themba said in every civil claim against police, Cele is always the first respondent.
Action Society South Africa’s Ian Cameron said the organisation is calling for the officers to be arrested.
“All eight bluelight mafia thugs have just been suspended with full pay. So basically, it’s a special leave or holiday. Still no arrests by Ipid. If it were you or I, we would be behind bars already!” said Cameroon on his Twitter page.
Cameron also shared a screenshot in which a death threat was made to an ex-police officer who is in the security industry for sharing the footage of the officers assaulting the victims.
The threat message reads: “Good Day ... We don’t take kind (sic) to the footage that you supplied to the media. You made a lot of enemies in specialised units. We will deal with you …”
Mathe was contacted and asked if the police were aware of the threats and whether they were investigating. However, she did not reply at the time of publication.
Cameron’s group also called for the banning of blue light brigades.
“We say ban the bluelight brigades; these so-called leaders aren’t above citizens, and the so-called cops are criminals! Make sure you sign the petition to ban them,” said Cameron.