VIP cops linked to N1 assault granted R10k bail as state's case labelled 'weak'

Cops also come in for strong criticism from magistrate

01 August 2023 - 10:31
By Khanyisile Ngcobo
Eight VIP protection unit members appear in the Randburg magistrate's court.
Image: Veli Nhlapo Eight VIP protection unit members appear in the Randburg magistrate's court.

The eight VIP protection officers linked to an assault on the N1 highway earlier this month have been granted R10,000 bail each as the state came under fire for “prematurely” putting a case on the court roll that was “weak” and “frail”. 

The officers also came in for strong criticism.

Shadrack Molekatlane Kojoana, Johannes Matome Mampuru, Pomso Joseph Mofokeng, Harmans Madumetja Ramokhonami, Phineas Molefo Boshielo, Churchill Mpakamiseni Mkhize, Lesibana Aggrie Rambau and Moses Fhatuwani Tshidada appeared in the Randburg magistrate's court on Tuesday. 

All eight provisionally face 12 charges, including malicious damage to property, assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm and pointing a firearm. They have denied the charges. They had asked for bail of between R1,000 and R2,000.

Magistrate Hlengiwe Mkhasibe started proceedings with an overview of the arguments by the state and defence in the bail application. She was scathing of the officers' conduct during and after the alleged attack on the three civilians, saying they were “daring” and “deceitful” throughout.

She also said the cops were “in a position of power and they abused this power”.

Despite this, she questioned the state's “hasty decision” to put the matter on the roll despite outstanding matters in its investigation. 

The state still has to trace the motorist who took the video of the attack, track down the sender of a threatening text to a state witness and have the victims identify their perpetrators.

“One would've expected them to wait a while, gather the evidence and then bring the matter to court.

“There is no doubt that if the state conducts a strong investigation, they can secure a conviction ... [but] based on the evidence before me, it would be a travesty of justice if I deny the applicants bail,” she said.

Bail was set at R10,000 for each accused, with strict conditions. 

The matter was postponed to September 27 for further investigation.


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