Eight VIP protection members suspended

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

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

The police said they had since successfully traced the victims and 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, he said no amount of provocation could ever justify or validate what had been witnessed on the video clip.

The media briefing was called to update the nation on key policing matters. It 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.

He explained that SAPS had 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 the 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 has 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,” Mashatile said.

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 to execute their duties.

“Therefore, when members are in 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.

Masemola urged the public to direct complaints against close protection officers to the SAPS Complaints Directorate on 0800 3331 77.  – SAnews.gov.za

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