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South African Deputy President's Security Detail Will Face Assault Charges From Altercation
The security detail of the South African Deputy President Paul Mashatile was filmed beating a pair of unarmed motorists on the side of the highway. The Deputy President was not present, but the plain-clothed officers will be facing numerous charges.
Four police officers assigned to protect South Africa's deputy president will face charges of assault and other offenses after a video surfaced showing them kicking and stomping on two men who had pulled their car over on a highway. The incident, caught on camera and shared on social media, has sparked outrage in the country, where complaints of police brutality are all too common.
According to police spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe, the officers will be charged with assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, pointing a firearm, and malicious damage to property. The incident occurred in Johannesburg, and the video shows the plainclothes officers attacking unarmed civilians.
In response to the incident, a statement from Deputy President Paul Mashatile's office expressed his condemnation, stating that he "abhors any unnecessary use of force, particularly against unarmed civilians." It's worth noting that Mashatile was not present during the assault, but the officers involved were part of his security detail.
The 45-second video, recorded by a witness in another car, has reignited concerns over police brutality in South Africa. The police protection unit, commonly known as the "blue light brigade," has a reputation for employing unnecessary force. Their role involves providing security for high-profile politicians and VIPs, often driving in convoys with flashing blue lights, intimidating other motorists to clear the way, and sometimes reacting forcefully if their instructions are not obeyed.
South Africa continues to struggle with a persistent problem of police brutality, as highlighted by several notorious incidents in recent years. One of the most infamous cases occurred in 2012 when 34 miners were fatally shot by police wielding assault rifles during a protracted strike over wages and working conditions. In another incident in 2020, which garnered national attention, a man was beaten to death in his own home by soldiers while police officers stood by.
According to the annual report of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), in the 2021-2022 financial year, the organization investigated a total of 3,407 complaints regarding unlawful assault by police officers. This staggering figure indicates an average rate of nearly 10 complaints per day, underscoring the extent of the problem and the urgency for effective measures to address it.