Johannesburg - The motorist caught on camera handing a Joburg metro police officer R10 says the bribe was to prevent being fined for a broken accelerator pedal.
The man driving a white bakkie was photographed on November 29 by a team from The Star who were documenting police corruption.
The photograph, shot about 100m away from behind a wall on Durban Deep road in greater Roodepoort, clearly shows the R10 note in the officer’s hand. The driver said he has been stopped on Durban Deep Road by police before.
“They’ll say ‘give us cooldrink money and you can go’. I usually give them between R20 and R50. I make sure I don’t show them how much I have because then they’ll take it all,” said the man, who added that he wanted to remain anonymous as he feared being prosecuted.
He said that sometimes he is ticketed, but on most occasions the metro officers ask for a bribe.
“The day I gave them that money it was because of my pedal. My accelerator pedal broke off during an accident,” the driver said.
The Star set up the “sting” due to complaints about goings-on in the area.
The site where the police usually set up roadblocks was opposite a wall, which provided an ideal hiding spot for a photographer. Over the course of a month, we watched metro police and SAPS officers set up roadblocks.
The photographer got one shot of the metro police officer accepting a bribe, but the team did witness money handovers involving SAPS personnel and motorists.
The officers involved were from police stations in the Honeydew cluster.
Also witnessed were incidents where police officers were seen counting money after a roadblock and sharing it between themselves.
After SAPS top brass were informed of the incidents of bribery, they asked The Star to hold off on publishing so that they could try to catch the officers red-handed.
Undercover Anti-corruption Unit officers drove through a roadblock manned by the suspected crooked cops but weren’t stopped. They were in an old kombi wired with recording devices and had marked banknotes they would have handed over if the officers had asked for a bribe.
The Star published the exposé on Tuesday.
A taxi owner, whose driver was stopped at a roadblock and appeared to give a bribe, said her drivers claim they are often threatened by police.
Major-General Oswald Reddy, the Honeydew cluster commander, said an internal investigation had been launched into The Star’s allegations of corruption.
JMPD spokesman Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar also said an investigation had been initiated.