VIP protection cops plead not guilty to N1 assault as trial gets under way

The eight VIP protectors appeared in the Randburg magistrate's court. File photo.
The eight VIP protectors appeared in the Randburg magistrate's court. File photo.
Image: Supplied

The eight police VIP protection unit officers linked to a vicious assault on the N1 last year pleaded not guilty to the charges against them as their trial began in the Randburg magistrate's court on Monday.

Shadrack Kojoana, Johannes Mampuru, Pomso Mofokeng, Harmans Ramokhonami, Phineas Boshielo, Churchill Mkhize, Lesibana Rambau and Moses Tshidada face 11 counts, including assault, malicious damage to property, discharging a firearm, contravening the Road Traffic Act, reckless and negligent driving and attempting to defeat the ends of justice. 

It is alleged that these were the men caught on camera last July beating and kicking a motorist and two passengers on the N1 near the Winnie Mandela Drive off-ramp. A video of the incident went viral on social media.

The eight men, who were part of deputy president Paul Mashatile's protection squad, have all since returned to work after they were granted bail of R10,000 each by the same court in August.

An application was granted during the bail application to live-stream and broadcast proceedings but magistrate Abdul Khan said on Monday this ruling no longer applied for the trial.

Khan allowed media coverage of the trial but with restrictions.

“The permission is granted ... subject to the following conditions: the recordings of the witnesses' evidence, including sound bites of the proceedings, may be used for reference and reporting. The actual clips may not be used in any bulletins or any delayed proceedings or news bulletins while the trial is proceeding. So after the trial is concluded, those [clips] can be used.

“No placing, moving or rearranging of camera recordings ... while court is in session. Also, no live-streaming or broadcasting of any testimony will be permitted. No names of any witnesses, either for the state may be published or reported. And lastly, no witness or his or her recording shall be recorded or filmed until that witness has consented to be filmed or recorded and this will continue as we proceed with the trial. That is the order of the court,” he said.

Prosecutor Eliza le Roux then read out the charges against the eight men, confirming that one charge had been dropped from the initial 12.

Of the 11, Mampuru and Rambau face a separate reckless and negligent driving charge each. They all pleaded not guilty to the raft of charges against them.

The court then heard testimony from the first witness, who detailed the events of that Sunday afternoon.


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