Police 'bonus-hunting' shameful

2013-02-05 16:54

South African road death-toll statistics are shameful and those who should be enforcing traffic laws are often the worst offenders.
Wheels24 reader Chris Barry, managing director of Heavy Commercial Vehicles Underwriting Managers, shares his thoughts on SA police and traffic officers:

"My goodwill towards some of the traffic police is not particularly high at the moment. I know of two people recently harassed late at night for a “bonus payment” for a “transgression”.


One of them is one of our employee drivers – he was stopped because of the new ridiculous police clearance system, he was towing a trailer to the police clearance facility in Benoni.
Traffic police tried to apprehend our driver with the implication that the trailer was stolen and therefore must go straight to the police pound. The objective of the traffic police in my opinion had nothing to do with morality on stolen items but more to do with “bonuses”.
Luckily our driver is thorough and actually taught them a thing or two about the new system. The point is our employee still felt shaken by the aggressive behaviour of the traffic police.
HCV has been commenting and supporting opinion on how individuals, the public and government employees must embark on some introspection when it comes to our unacceptably high levels of aggression, road rage and shocking road fatality statistics.  We support those who already uphold standards but, for the rest, the message is "stop complaining, do some introspection" as that is the best place to start.
Take this example (image above): I came across an accident at about 7am on January 26 2013. I speculate, and I repeat, speculate, that this police vehicle was driving way too fast. I hope the occupants were not harmed; as you can see by the tell-tale evidence in the picture, there were no seat belts.

No other vehicle was involved.
The driver was either going too fast to negotiate the curves or missed/ failed to gauge the proximity of the island. Since I know this road very well it is far less tame than it appears.


No doubt this was a big accident. I was also surprised that I was allowed to take pictures.
Furthermore, and this is the critical point, I asked a very helpful bystander policeman: “What happened?”
His answer: “They were reacting to a report of a robbery…”
So I ask this: If our police, or any other traffic officials, want to drive fast (which clearly, with all the Golf GTi’s in service, they do) and if they want to earn the respect of South African citizens (which ultimately I am sure they do) then surely they should not be allowed to drive new cars or LDVs until they have proven their skills at advanced driving academies or similar training facilities?
After all, one of their most important skills should be the ability to react appropriately to emergencies. Emergency ambulance drivers get it right, so why can’t the traffic police?
In the meantime, I think most drivers, such as those in this example should be confined to desk duty."

Have you experienced similar situations with traffic officials? How much did you have to cough up?
Email us and we'll publish your thoughts - or use the Readers' Comments section below...

The contents above are a personal opinion and written within the context of trying to improve the unacceptable road death statistics in South Africa.

  • neil.big.craig - 2013-02-06 09:33

    Fit cameras, microphones, & GPS units to police vehicles. Not only will help ensure professionalism of the police but also capture valuable evidence during operations.

  • riotousr - 2013-02-06 09:45

    I dress fairly shabby. Actually, I always look like a 17 year old rascal but these days I have an advanced form of gray hair. When I had an accident the first batch of policemen on the scen came with the intention of assisting the injured. When they realised that the fancy vehicle did not fit the driver's outlook they immediately offered to take me to the nearest hospital. I told them if the receptionist at the hospital happened to be my sister I was going to sit down and cry. I was placed at the back of their police van. When we arrived at the hospital the receptionist happened to be my sister. I sat down and cried. My sister asked them what was wrong with me they asked HER what car I drove. When my sister told them that I drove a fancy car that looked like one of those imports their attitude changed to non-challant. I got all the necessary medical attention after which they FORCED me to get into the FRONT with them. When we got to the accident scene they were interested in where I stayed and if I knew so and so. Because I was just eager to get home I got the car towed to my mom's instead of my place which was 320km away in Pretoria. Little did I know that the uniformed men who remained on the scene did no effort to write an accident report. The law gives us 48 hours to report an accident. I missed it. My biggest puzzle is: “what did the police vans pitch at the scene.” To play heroes but the situation was not tragic enough for them to be recognised as such.

  • dhuisamen1 - 2013-02-06 14:19

    Our town has only one robot crossing and guess what? The only vehicles that were in serious accidents the last year at that crossing, were police vehicles. They got the concept in their heads that if there are an emergency and they put their lights and sirens on, they can go flat out over stops and red robots. What they do not realise, is the fact that there are deaf drivers and between buildings, you cannot judge the where abouts of the vehicle. Sirens and blue lights do not give a freeway to do what you want.

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