Eight SAPS VIP protection members served with suspension notices

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National Police Commissioner, General Fanie Masemola, has confirmed that eight members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) implicated in the video which shows the assault of three civilians on a Gauteng highway, have been issued with suspension notices.

The officers have also been temporarily removed from their posts pending investigations.

The police said they have since successfully traced the victims and that they have encouraged them to open cases against the police officers.

“I want to reiterate that the SAPS does not condone such behaviour at any point,” Masemola said.

Addressing the media in Vanderbijlpark earlier on Thursday, Masemola said no amount of provocation can ever justify or validate what was witnessed on the video clip.

The media briefing was called to update the nation on key policing matters. The briefing also focused on successes achieved by the SAPS’s nationwide high density operations.

“We generally follow a very stringent process to identify members that should be protecting our principals, so for those members to have conducted themselves in such a manner, is quite concerning.

“We pledge to offer our full cooperation to the IPID investigation, at the same time ensuring that our internal processes are not compromised in any manner,” Masemola said.

Masemola explained that SAPS has clear instructions on the role of VIP Protectors whose mandate is to ensure that an integrated protection service is rendered to all individuals identified as VIPs.

“The protection of VIPs is provided for in terms of the policy on protection packages.

“The policy is in accordance with 2014 Cabinet memorandum. In executing their duties, close protection officers must at all times portray professionalism, discipline, politeness, enthusiasm, and high ethical conduct, at all times prioritising the safety of their principals,” he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy President Paul Mashatile whom the implicated police officers are said to be his protectors also condemned the incident.

“Members of the SAPS are meant to uphold and protect the fundamental rights of every person and exercise the powers conferred upon them in a responsible and controlled manner,” said the Deputy President.

Masemola said in terms of Regulation 176 and 185 of the National Road Traffic Regulations of 2000, any member of the service can use blue lights and sirens if necessary in order to execute his/her duties.

“Therefore, when members are on convoy, they are permitted to use blue lights. This should be done taking into account the safety of other road users.

“A police official may exceed the general speed limit with or without the use of a blue flashing light, provided that he/she drives the vehicle in the execution of duties necessitating this and with due regard and careful consideration of the safety of other road users,” he said.