MEC guards in toll-gate attack?
PANIC FLIGHT: Gert van der Merwe runs for the police station with 'blue light' bullies in pursuit. Image: BEELD
The Democratic Alliance has called for a probe into allegations that an Mpumalanga man was assaulted by the province's housing MEC's bodyguards.
"Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza must investigate the allegations against human settlements MEC Siphosezwe Masango and his 'blue light bully'," the DA's Anthony Benadie said on Monday. The DA also advised the premier to relieve the MEC of his duties.
TOLL GATE FRACAS
Benadi added: "The premier [should] suspend Masango from all official duties until the SAPS has concluded the investigation and, depending on the outcome, release MEC Masango from duty."
The man who claims to have been attacked, Gert van der Merwe, 38, told Beeld newspaper that Masango's white Mercedes with flashing blue lights sped past cars waiting to pass through a toll gate last Thursday morning. "The car passed oncoming traffic at high speed, crossing over a solid line," he told the newspaper.
Van der Merwe apparently stopped behind Masango at the tollgate and shouted that the driver was reckless. He said Masango's car stopped when the boom closed in front of his car.
Van der Merwe told the newspaper: "When I wanted to pay, I saw the driver and another man get out of the car. They walked to my car and shouted: 'What is your problem?'"
One of the guards had a pistol in his hand and the other had pepper spray. Van der Merwe said he got out of his car to confront the pair, at which time a third person, believed to be Masango, also got out of the vehicle.
'BLUE LIGHT' HEADLINES
Van der Merwe was allegedly hit on the head and pepper-sprayed. He reportedly ran towards the Kaapmuiden police station, about 400m from the toll gate, chased by the bodyguards. Beeld published a picture of Van der Merwe running with two men behind him.
Read the original story in Beeld.
Incidents involving 'blue light' cars have made headlines in the past year.
• A bodyguard for KZN's former social development MEC Meshack Radebe was found guilty of illegally discharging his firearm and his colleague was found guilty in July 2012 of negligent driving. The bodyguard shot the tyre of a Mazda near Camperdown, resulting in the driver losing control and colliding head-on with a bakkie. Eight people were injured in the 2008 incident.
• The driver of Gauteng MEC Humphrey Mmemezi's VIP vehicle knocked West Rand teenager Thomas Ferreira off his motorcycle in November 2011, leaving the youth with brain damage and in need of long-term rehabilitation. Loud promises of financial help from the province have not been kept.
The DA has banned the use of blue lights for MEC;s and cabinet members in the Western Cape and has called on Mabuza to do the same in that province.