Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema was stopped by a group of armed policemen at the Grayston off-ramp on Sunday because they suspected the convoy was a gang of blue light hijackers, according to a police report.
In a report written to the Acting National Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Kgomotso Phahlane, the officers gave their version of events.
It is alleged that a member of the Johannesburg Metro Police Department who had knocked off duty noticed a Golf 7 fitted with blue lights driving on Chris Hani Road in Soweto.
“The member saw a Golf 7 with identification lights fitted like that of the police. He then enquired from the radio as to the owner of the vehicle from SAPS reaction channel and it came through as unknown,” the report said.
“He then realised that the vehicle was driving together with the Range Rover, and he suspected that this might be vehicle hijackers. The member then called for back-up.
“At that time, he was driving at a distance as a precautionary measure waiting for response. All these cars were now driving on the M1 North and the 1st vehicle that responded was a SAPS flying squad vehicle at Killarney bands [sic].”
Flying Squad cars
There were Flying Squad cars already at Grayston off-ramp waiting for them. They managed to stop both vehicles and approached them.
The occupants of the two cars were already out of their cars when a member went to talk to them.
“The member indicated that he saw Mr Malema as he was the loudest of them all saying why was he stopped and harassed.
“One of the flying squad members calmed him down and told him that they were not aware that it is him on that convoy as both vehicles were registered under a private company. Everyone then departed and went their separate ways,” said the report.
The officers are said to have informed Malema as to why he was being stopped and the fact that the car was not registered as belonging to a security division. The officers maintained that they only responded because they thought the car could have been part of a blue light gang.
“Currently in Gauteng there are various reported incidents where allegations are made that unmarked vehicles with a blue light were used to commit hijackings.
“When the vehicle was pulled over and it was then realised that this is vehicles used to protect Mr Malema. The members on the scene informed Mr Malema why the vehicle was pulled off and that there was no information at that time that it was used for his protection,” concluded the report.
‘Cops forced me out of car’
Malema took to Twitter to vent his frustrations following the incident. Attempts to get comment from Malema or EFF spokesperson were not successful. Calls and sms’s were not responded to.
At 21:23 on Sunday, Malema tweeted: “Just survived police harassment at Grayston off-ramp, 12 police men pointed me with rifles and forced me out of the car…”
The EFF then released a statement where spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said Malema was stopped by a white unmarked van at the Grayston Drive off-ramp on Sunday night, and was then surrounded by around 10 police vehicles.
“The police then all came out pointing guns at his car and forced him out. The entire intersection at the Grayston Drive off-ramp was blocked, isolating him from the rest of the traffic,” Ndlozi said.
“The CIC [commander-in-chief] Julius Malema got out and the police all did nothing, claiming it was a mistake. He forced his way around the police cars, driving over the pavements and drove off,” Ndlozi said.
‘Our members were professional’
Malema had been travelling from Soweto where he had attended the party’s manifesto launch preparatory meeting. Ndlozi said he believed Malema had been followed from the meeting.
Police confirmed the incident. Police Minister spokesperson Musa Zondi said the vehicle was stopped by JMPD who then called for backup from SAPS.
“The member called the cars in and discovered they were not officials’ cars and don’t belong to any law enforcement agency but to a private company. As you would know, we have had the issue of the blue light gang so he called for backup as he was not sure who those people were,” he said.
Zondi added that members did not harass Malema and acted professionally at all times.
“The information from the people on the ground is that they did not harass anyone. From what they say, they received more aggression from the other side than they were aggressive. They handled the situation very professionally,” said Zondi.