Journalist assaulted by Zuma's VIP unit

2013-11-18 19:56
President Jacob Zuma (Picture: GCIS)

President Jacob Zuma (Picture: GCIS)

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Johannesburg - An Eyewitness News multimedia journalist opened a charge against President Jacob Zuma's VIP protection unit on Monday, said Primedia.

"At this stage, Reinart Toerien has opened a charge, which we suspect will be common assault, but it is up to SAPS to decide on that," said spokesperson Pippa Rowles.

Police spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mulamu confirmed that a case of common assault had been opened at the Norwood police station.

"He [Toerien] did not have any visible injuries, but the suspect has not been arrested yet," said Mulamu.

"Police are investigating the matter."

Toerien was allegedly assaulted by Zuma's security detail outside former president Nelson Mandela's home in Houghton, Johannesburg.

Police spokesperson Neville Malila the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) was contacted to do further investigation in the matter.

“We condemn the incident.  The VIP protection commander has immediately instituted an internal disciplinary investigation.”

In a statement, EWN said Toerien was filming from the pavement as the motorcade exited the driveway.

One of the security guards allegedly reached out of a black 4X4 window and told him to "voetsek" before slapping Toerien and shoving the video camera, pushing Toerien back.

The video on the website shows the camera move with the motorcade, then hooting can be heard and someone shouting "voetsek" followed by a shot of the ground.

As the camera continues filming the motorcade driving away, someone in the background asks: "Is the camera okay?"

Conduct condemned

EWN editor-in-chief Katy Katopodis condemned the VIP protection unit's apparent conduct.

She said it was shocking that Zuma's security appeared to believe they could act with such "impunity".

"The president's security detail needs to respect the rights of all its citizens," said Katopodis.

National police commissioner Riah Phiyega's spokesperson Solomon Makgale said he would issue a statement later.

The presidency confirmed that Zuma visited Mandela on Monday.

"The health of the former president remains much the same as it was when President Zuma last visited him, which is stable but critical, while Madiba continues to respond to treatment," spokesperson Mac Maharaj said in a statement.

Maharaj referred all questions about the alleged assault to the police.

Read more on:    riah phiyega  |  jacob zuma  |  johannesburg  |  media

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