my wife (born in rsa) was pulled over on the highway for no reason - the cop asked to see her drivers licence - when she presented an international licence he demanded her passport, which no-one in his right mind would carry around in johannesburg - he told her she was under arrest unless she paid him 1500 rand on the spot - after a brief negotiation we waved her off with friendly directions on how to get to goldreef city for a mere one hundred rand (around $12) - not the sort of thing you would expect from a country that is declared fit to host the world cup soccer, but at least not too expensive
When did this happen? Did she report the incident? Best inform the Independent Complaints Directorate about incidents like these... Or tv news shows like Carte Blanche. I would strongly advise anybody NOT to try and bribe traffic cops in South Africa!!!!
I am a proud South African that regularly travel many miles in our beautiful country, neigbouring African countries, in Europe and America. On many occasions I have been stopped by traffic police, and on every occasion I have been asked to produce my drivers licence. Not once have any one of them, anywhere, tried to bribe me. That does not mean to say I think that no one traffic official is not corrupt.
As sorry as I am for your wife, I think that she has now learned how people in Africa operate. Did you/she take into account that the traffic official is of a different culture and normally treat other people differently from what the average American or European is used to? That he does not speak English when not on duty? That his English language skills are not as good as that of the average tourist?
Also, please note that the actions of one corrupt traffic official is hardly a measure of the citizens of a country, or its abilities to play sport, or even to host sport events.
Reason for my response to your post is actually to relate to you my experience with an American Highway Patrolman. (Oh, btw, look at the image to the left. That is an image of part of the document that I was presented with at the time.) During this incident, I was told to pay him the fine on the spot, something we do not do here where I come from. Maybe that is the way you guys do it? Personally I prefer to not just part with my money every time a unformed official stop me on the side of the road. In the end, I admit, I have parted with my money, only to avoid him using his handcuffs and it was fortunately also good to convince him to put his handgun away.
Did your poor wife have to look down the barrel of a gun? Did she have a hand in a cuff? No? So, why the fuss?
Couldn't agree with you more there "Faurec"! There are plenty of incidents unfortunately but I too have been pulled over many times by traffic police in South Africa (and I am originally from Europe) in routine traffic checks. Not once anything bad happened. The usual treatment is: "Thank you sir. Have a great day." SA has many issues to sort out sure but it is getting a lot of unfair and biased reporting.
I just want to interject my 2 cents worth here. I was stopped by a Traffic Officer one day on a routine traffic stop and when I produced my American driving license, it gave the officer such a thrill. He said wow, I have never met anybody from America before. "Have a great day, stay safe and be careful", these were his exact words. There are good and bad in everybody no matter where you are. I have found the Traffic Officers here in South Africa to be very proficient, yet I have also seen some of the worst, so it does not matter who or where you are in the world, there are going to be good and bad. For the most part, the officers simply wish to be able to do their jobs and at the end of the day be proud of who they are.
Another time in the Eastern Cape, I had to go to the doctor, as I had been biten by a tick and had tick fever. Upon leaving the doctors office and driving home before taking the medication he had given me, I was stopped on the N-67 coming out of Grahamstown towards Port Alfred. I did not realize I was speeding, but he pulled me over and he could not have been nicer. He wrote the ticket and told me it was only a R100 and I did not know, because I had heard the horrors of bribes etc, so I took out my wallet and was going to pay him and he put his hands in the air and backed up and said to me, no mam, you don't pay me, you have to go into Grahamstown to Traffic fines.
So you see they are NOT all BAD. A few rotten apples always spoil the cart, but not all are rotten apples.
I was in South Africa recently and was rightly pulled over for speeding, I went through a roadworks section and as I was saying to my wife, 'I am not sure what the speed limit is here', a speed trap came into view. I was pulled over
I waited for the policeman to come over, gave him my drivers licence and immediately apologised for speeding.
He discussed briefly the limit etc and then asked me where I was from and saying I would have to come back to Johannesburg to pay the fine. I said to him that would be difficult as I was not coming back that way.
I have to admit I was waiting for some request to pay cash.....
His response was after a moments consideration 'thats ok, just dont do it again - have a good holiday' on I went with a very good impression of a decent policeman whose perspective was quite forward thinking.
I am not sure you would find that positivity elsewhere?
I like the addition of the above positive experiences. Unfortunately the one that sticks in my mind is not in that class, as I will relate in a future blog. Travelling from Paul Kruger gate to Hazyview on the R536 in 7pm winter darkness, we were following a police car. Its lights moved right and a dark shape loomed. It was a large slow-moving truck with no illuminated rear lights. On passing it became apparent that neither were the front lights on, and this on a road filled with potholes, pedestrians, cyclists and randomly moving taxis.
Now that might not be hugely surprising nor too disturbing. But here's what was. The police car kept on going!! It was too late to get his number, but could South Africans on this forum let me know, even if I had, would reporting it to the Hazyview police station have achieved any positive result? Obviously this experience touches on a number of issues of concern in a tourist-dense area.