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One in four Johannesburg drivers were asked for a bribe by traffic police in 2010, Corruption Watch executive director David Lewis said on Monday.
“One hundred and fifty thousand Johannesburg drivers were asked for a bribe, about one in four,” he told reporters in Johannesburg, referring to a Statistics SA survey in 2010.
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 (JMPD), called “The Law for Sale”.
Key findings include the scale of the problem and that authorities fail 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 formed part of a nationwide anti-bribery campaign, or “no more tjo-tjo” campaign which was also announced on Monday.
The report was one of several planned by Corruption Watch to highlight corruption hotspots in the country. Lewis said JMPD statistics showed only 184 cases of corruption were reported over the last three years, from 2009 to 2011. Out of these, 37 officers were found guilty and 19 dismissed.
Bribery was not a victimless offence, he said. Drunk drivers or motorists 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. - Sapa