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Johannesburg - Sandton is Joburg’s bribe hot spot. This is according to Corruption Watch which analysed its own data from tip-offs from the public.
According to the public’s complaints about the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) that were reported to Corruption Watch between January last year and April this year:
l Bribes are solicited from drivers whether or not they have contravened the law.
l If a person refuses to pay a bribe, the officer usually lowers the amount requested.
l If the driver still resists paying a bribe he or she is (a) given a fine, if the law has been broken; (b) allowed to leave without paying the bribe; (c) given a fine in which the officer has fabricated allegations.
l When drivers say they do not have any cash on them, they are asked to go to the nearest ATM and withdraw the money.
The civil society organisation, which gathers, analyses and shares information on corruption, asked JMPD spokesman Wayne Minnaar to analyse the data from the tip-offs.
“It soon became clear that Sandton is a bribe hot spot, followed closely by Fourways, Dainfern and Midrand.”
Referring to trends from the JMPD hotline, Minnaar said the metro police had noticed that in the more affluent areas such as Sandton the amount of money exchanged was higher than in other areas.
“Although there was corruption reported in almost all of the metro’s regions, more money was given or received in Sandton,” said Minnaar.
The reports Corruption Watch had received from the public involving the JMPD indicated that Sandton was a bribe haven, particularly along Rivonia Road, William Nicol Drive and Grayston Drive.
“In tallying up the volumes, Corruption Watch has recorded the highest number of complaints from region E (Alexandra, Wynberg and Sandton), with region A (Diepsloot, Kya Sand, Bloubosrand, Cedar Lakes, Fourways Gardens, Dainfern, Midrand) being the second-most reported-on region.”
One person wrote that they had been on their way to Sandton when they were stopped and accused by JMPD traffic officers of overtaking on a barrier line.
“I was told that the fine is R800 but if I give them R100 they’ll let me go. I was left with no option but to give them my last R100.”
Another person wrote: “I was stopped at a metro police roadblock (Marlboro). (They told me that my) licence had expired. When they told me that the fine was R1 000 I started complaining. I was then asked how much I could pay. I said R100. I was then asked where the cash was. I said, sorry I don’t have cash. He then let me go.”
Another said they were pulled over by one of two metro police officers on May 12 on the corner of Sandton and Grayston drives at about 10.20am.
“I was asked to produce an emergency red triangle, which I could not find in my boot. Then I was threatened with a fine, then he suggested I pay a spot fine (bribe), which I refused. I asked for an official paper fine, and then he said I can go!”
Meanwhile, eblockwatch founder Andre Snyman said the community forum received the same complaints from subscribers in the Sandton area.
“It is quite bad in Sandton. It is at its peak from the 25th of the month through to about the 4th. It is usually late at night and it’s usually wealthy youngsters who are targeted.”
Snyman said some of its subscribers have even recorded the cops soliciting the bribes using eblockwatch’s software.
“We need to educate the cops that the recordings are not stored in the phone, (they are) directly uploaded to our server. It will also send a copy of the recording to the person’s family members,” he said. - Saturday Star