Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

South Africa: Blue Light Brigade - the President's Bullies Assault Journalist

analysis

This one goes out to the brave policeman, that patriot in black suit, who hung out of a speeding car to assault a young journalist for doing his job.

You, sir, are a fine example of the kind of officer who should be protecting a country's president. We need more men like you.

Wait a minute; we already have an entire unit.

As far as dramatic clashes with the police's VIP Protection unit goes, the latest one outside Nelson Mandela's house was fairly low on the Richter scale.

Members of that unit and the notorious "blue light brigade" have been known to crash into cars, pull guns on motorists who couldn't move over quickly enough, shoot indiscriminately, knock down kids on motorbikes, shove women onto the ground and threaten to "take out" journalists while breaking their equipment.

On Monday, I was on assignment with Reinart Toerien, a colleague from Eyewitness News.

We had been dispatched to investigate a commotion outside Madiba's Houghton home. A tip-off had come in that there were dozens of cars outside the gate. Our sources told us it was an unannounced visit by president Jacob Zuma.

This was a big deal because we...

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