Mpho Moloto
2 minute read
29 Dec 2018
3:24 pm

Top tips to survive roadblocks this festive season

Mpho Moloto

Know your rights when you get stopped this year.

File photo: A member of the JMPD indicates for a car to stop.

Few things make drivers as anxious as roadblocks during the festive season, reports City Buzz.

Whether you’re a new or seasoned driver, there are important things you need to know when it comes to roadblocks in South Africa, and we all know they can get really tense at this time of year.

First things first: There are two type of roadblocks – the informal one and the K78 roadblock. According to, the two roadblocks are distinguished by the police’s ability and right to search your vehicle and person. A search cannot be performed at an informal roadblock without a warrant unless the officer can prove the circumstances surrounding the search. You can also ask for a warrant or authorisation from the national police commissioner at a K78 roadblock.

An officer in full uniform working at a roadblock may pull you over for the following reasons:

  • To complete a routine check of the vehicle and the driver. Depending on the type of roadblock, they may request a full search.
  • The driver committed a traffic offence.
  • The vehicle is suspected to be stolen or the vehicle is believed to contain criminal individuals or contraband.

At an informal roadblock the officer is legally allowed to request your driver’s licence and ID, check for outstanding fines, check the vehicle’s licence disk and ensure the vehicle is roadworthy. However, at a K87 roadblock, the officer is legally allowed to search any vehicle or person without a warrant and seize illegal items or items suspected to be linked to a crime. Motorists can request a copy of the written authorisation letter given by the national police commissioner.

When stopped at a roadblock, motorists have the following provisions in their rights:

  • You may ask to see an original search warrant and request a copy.
  • You’re legally allowed to film or photograph police officers at a roadblock.
  • You may ask the police for identification.
  • Should you have any outstanding fines, you are not legally obliged to pay on the spot.
  • If you feel unsafe, you may ask for the officer’s badge number and call 10111 to confirm their badge number.

However, it is important to remember the police are allowed to arrest you with or without a warrant if you are found to be driving drunk or recklessly, with a cancelled or disqualified licence and/or verbally or physically abusing an officer.

We trust this article will help make the inevitable roadblock seamless and avoid unnecessary incidents during the festive season.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.