So today we are driving from Johannesburg to Durban. The police presence on the road is astounding, in a good way. They are littered over the N3 like flies on a carcass.
Then we get pulled over. My husband isn’t a fast driver, but he does go ever so slightly over the limit now and again. I’m not sure that he was speeding when we got pulled over, but he could have been. The female cop comes to the window and tells him to get out of the car with his license. The only thing I say to my husband is “take the ticket and do not give a bribe.”
Out of my passenger side mirror I see the driver in front of us, who was also pulled over, getting out of the passenger side of the police vehicle. My husband is told to get in. This in itself is against procedure and I can smell this rat right on my nostrils. Liam is yelling in the backseat, “is daddy going to jail?”
Husband comes back about three minutes later. This officer of the law told him that he was due a R2500 ticket or alternatively, how about a Christmas box? He was travelling 5kms over the speed limit. He opened his wallet and showed her his R200 and told her it was his last and he had to get to Durban. She then told him to get out of her car.
Now here’s my opinion. I am highly irritated, I am completely disillusioned and I am quite embarrassed. If these policemen on the N3 are stopping cars with the sole purpose of fattening their purses, it is indeed a sad state of affairs. I know this is nothing new, but each time I am faced with this sort of bribery or I hear of someone who was, it makes me not like South Africa just a little. I have always said I will not give a bribe, ever. Give me my ticket and your name and let’s both be on our separate ways. But I will not be implicated in giving South Africa yet another tarnishing blow to her already rusty trophy by selling out.
None of us are earning millions, many of us are just about surviving on our salaries, what makes you think you can earn a second income by preying on people who, yes, may be breaking the law, but are being made to fork out early Christmas gifts for your kids? You give the law a bad stinking name. No wonder we haven’t got faith in you, no wonder communities take the law into their own hands against criminals, no wonder there is just general lawlessness in South Africa.
Please can I urge you to take a stand. Don’t offer a bribe, if you were in the wrong, take your punishment, but don’t allow these dirty cops to get away with this. It sickens me. I wish I had taken her name and the registration number of her vehicle. But where would that have gotten me anyway hey?
Living the South African dream. Ya right.