A recent directive from the Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) saying members of the public can take photos of traffic officials and their vehicles and record incidents when they fall victim to extortion and corruption is not acceptable to honest traffic officials.
This is the feeling of the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) which says that taking photographs might endanger the police at a later stage.
Motorists are also urged to request appointment certificates when stopped by traffic officers.
A spokesperson for the union said policing was carefully controlled. It does not have a problem with producing appointment cards.
“After the directive last week, an officer tried to arrest an alleged drunken driver and everybody witnessing it started taking videos, which is not fair on the officer. Elements in our forces asking for ‘cold drink’ must be exposed. But there is the corrupt and the corrupter, where some people do try to corrupt an officer to avoid the penalty.
“We cannot condone the taking of pictures generally. If an officer is seeking a bribe, then it is okay to photograph him or her. I am here to protect officers that do not expect money and are doing an honest day’s work,” the spokesperson said.
The directive, signed by the acting police chief, BD Nkhwashu, stated that TMPD members had been instructed to take note of its contents to enable photographing.
The directive follows “various complaints of alleged extortion and corruption by TMPD members”.
One of the hotspots for these activities, is Hartbeespoort, where residents have fallen prey to allegedly corrupt TMPD officers. Some are currently embroiled in court cases against the accused officials, according to the local newspaper Kormorant.