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Shock report exposes cop bribery

2012-04-24 07:04

SO TEMPTING: R1000 for a traffic offence or R100 to pay off a cop. Well, what would YOU do?

JOHANNESBURG - One in four Johannesburg drivers paid a bribe to a traffic cop in 2010, Corruption Watch executive director David Lewis has alleged.

"(The report along with other surveys) shows that one in four road users in Johannesburg has paid a bribe," he told reporters in Johannesburg, referring to a Statistics SA survey in 2010.


This amounted to about 150 000 drivers. He explained that no new survey had been done but he believed the trend had been climbing since 2010. "Bribery is a serious crime."

Lewis was speaking at the release of a report on corruption within the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department called "The Law for Sale" in which key findings include the scale of the problem and that the authorities have failed to recognise it.

"(The report) criticises the JMPD for being in denial about the extent of corruption within its force. The sheer scale of the problem is massive."

The report is part of a nationwide anti-bribery campaign, "no more tjo-tjo", which was also announced on Monday as one of several planned by Corruption Watch to highlight corruption hotspots in South Africa. Lewis said JMPD statistics, however, showed only 184 cases of corruption being reported over the last three years, from 2009 to 2011. Of these, 37 officers were found guilty and 19 sacked.


Corruption Watch's recommendations to the JMPD and the City of Johannesburg were to take responsibility and address corruption. JMPD officers should at all times wear visible identification and must be able to report corruption with confidentiality. Field integrity tests (stings) should be used to gather evidence against corrupt officers for disciplinary measures.

Lewis emphasised that bribery was not a victimless offence. Drunk drivers or drivers with defective vehicles were left to drive on the roads after paying a bribe.

"We often hear the excuse that the public is responsible for offering bribes to traffic officers but we look up to law enforcement officers to be accountable and exemplary in their behaviour," Lewis said. "The public would be very reluctant to offer a bribe if they knew that traffic officers always upheld the law."

Corruption Watch was started by the Congress of SA Trade Unions in January to hold public and private sector officials accountable.

Have YOU paid a bribe to a traffic cop? Tell us about it in the Readers' Comments section below.

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