The recent video capturing the Joburg highway assault has sent shockwaves throughout the country. In an interview with Lester Kiewit on 702, Conroy Herandien, a former presidential bodyguard, and Andrew Whitfield, Spokesperson for the DA on policing, shared their insights on this disturbing incident.
On Monday, members of the VIP protection unit, part of Deputy President Paul Mashatile’s security detail, brazenly assaulted three individuals in full view on the N1 in Fourways.
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate is investigating. The national police commissioner has assured that those involved will be held accountable.
The Joburg highway assault again highlighted concerns about police brutality in our country, with the blue light brigades often referred to as ‘bullies’ acting as a law unto themselves.
Herandien expressed disbelief at the officers’ behaviour. He stated that their training should have equipped them to handle and neutralise threats without violence.
“I could not believe what I saw in that video. I was hoping it happened in some other country,” said Conroy Herandien, a former Presidential Bodyguard. He highlighted that even if there were threats to their convoy, physically assaulting people is unacceptable.
Herandien also suggested that those overseeing VIP protection officers’ training and recruitment processes must carefully review them to address any underlying issues.
On the other hand, Whitfield sees this incident as indicative of a larger problem in the country, pointing out that the political leadership may be complicit in fostering such behaviour.
“No South African has escaped the reckless driving of a blue light brigade,” Whitfield remarked, highlighting the everyday experience of encountering their dangerous behaviour on the roads.
He firmly believes that the behaviour exhibited by the VIP protectors reflects the political principles they uphold, further eroding trust in the South African Police Service.
Whitfield called for improved behaviour from our leaders, stressing that the president and deputy president must take responsibility for rectifying the situation.
“We know that Minister Cele is not capable or not willing to enforce a culture of professionalism within the SAPS,” Whitfield added, highlighting the need for a more substantial commitment to professionalism and accountability within the police force.
As the investigation unfolds, it is clear that urgent action is needed to restore faith in the integrity and conduct of those responsible for protecting the public.
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