Eight policemen who were caught on video assaulting three civilians on the N1 highway in Johannesburg last week have been suspended.
The suspensions follow an investigation on the VIP protection unit members attached to the security detail of Deputy President Paul Mashatile.
It is not unclear if the officers will continue to receive full pay and benefits while on suspension. In a statement, the SA Police Service said it would not be drawn into discussing the matter further.
Ian Cameron, director for community safety at Action Society, a civil society organisation, detailed the events before the video was captured.
“He [one of the victims L’Vaughn Fisher] thought they were being hijacked. Suddenly, there was a black SUV in front of him, another to the right of the vehicle and they were pushing them to the side. They pointed an assault rifle at him. They stopped close to the rails on the side of the road,” said Cameron.
“They tried to open the driver’s door, they smashed the back right-hand window. They then hit the victim with the butt of the rifle in his right jaw and also his ear. He lost consciousness from the force and was dragged as we saw in the video.”
The victims, who are trainees at the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), have since acquired the services of acting lawyers to represent them, who say they are struggling to process the harrowing assault.
Speaking to the media on Monday, lawyers Daniel Eloff and Ulrich Roux said the victims are still traumatised by the attack.
Eloff said: “It was compounded that L’Vaughn Fisher’s employer [SANDF] failed to provide counselling to the victim and barred him from speaking to the media.”
Roux represents the other two victims and a third one who was not visible in the video.