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If unchecked, brutal action of VIP protectors could lead to revolt against government — Mbalula

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula briefs media at Chief Albert Luthuli House on July 5 2023 in Johannesburg. The briefing focused on outcomes of the national working committee meeting held on July 3 2023.
ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula briefs media at Chief Albert Luthuli House on July 5 2023 in Johannesburg. The briefing focused on outcomes of the national working committee meeting held on July 3 2023.
Image: Papi Morake/Gallo Images

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula has warned the brutal action by VIP protection officers seen kicking, stomping and dragging vehicle occupants on the N1 should not be taken lightly.

Mbalula said if not addressed properly it could lead to a public revolt as South Africans are already pessimistic about the behaviour of the blue-light brigade on the roads.

He was speaking after a video emerged at the weekend showing Deputy President Paul Mashatile’s VIP protection unit assaulting motorists on the N1.

Mbalula said the officers should be suspended while investigations are under way. Should they be found to be in the wrong, they should face appropriate consequences.

The investigation should uncover whether there was a threat that called for such brutality and action because such behaviour could lead to a public revolt, he said.

“Honestly, it's a kind of thing that makes people to march and take down a government — it angers you. I saw a lot of people on social media frowning upon that. It’s the kind of thing that can get people into the street,” said Mbalula.

“So it must never be taken lightly, what those cops did — that's why we need to get to the bottom of that and we've got checks and balances to do so. The Independent Police Investigative Directorate [Ipid] must investigate them.

“That's why we say, as the ANC, if they are in the wrong, there must be consequences — but as an immediate action they must be suspended so they do not interfere with evidence.”

Mbalula said the action of the police assigned to protect Mashatile was cowardly and “runs against the grain of what SAPS must stand for, which is to protect all members of society”.

“We urge the minister, and everyone involved, to allow Ipid to investigate this matter as a matter of urgency,” said Mbalula.

Attempts to pin the incident on Mashatile were cheap political point scoring, he said, because Mashatile is not responsible for his own safety.

“It is easy point scoring to apportion blame on the deputy president who doesn’t carry out his own protection, but people are employed to protect him and those people are law officers. We must focus on those who execute the implementation of the law to ensure they do appropriately and that’s what is important.”

He said those blaming Mashatile or the ANC were seeing an opportunity to further tarnish the party’s name. Mashatile is not only the country’s deputy president but that of the ANC as well.

“We note that this incident is blamed on the ANC. The ANC as a brand is tarnished by opportunists, by chance takers who at any given point, they jump at the opportunity to attack the organisation.

“The ANC condemns this act of violence in our streets.”

TimesLIVE


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