Dirk Lotriet
2 minute read
16 Aug 2019
3:04 pm

When Metro cops turn a blind eye

Dirk Lotriet

The roads are full of traffic offenders. The Metro police should throw the book at them. But you can’t fight thuggery with thuggery.

Metro Cops at a roadblock. For illustrative purposes. Picture: ANA

A long weekend is always a pleasure for those of us who are fortunate enough to have jobs.

But the previous one was even more special than most to me. The lovely Snapdragon kidnapped me and took me on a wonderful weekend in the bushveld.

As it was just after payday, the road between Harties and Johannesburg was littered with roadblocks on the Sunday afternoon. We managed to avoid them all, until a cellphone app alerted us to a huge roadblock on the N14 highway just outside Krugersdorp.

The traffic was backed up quite a distance, so we decided to stop for a sandwich and a cup of coffee at a roadside garage.

When we sat down at one of the tables on the stoep, we noticed we were in for a treat: we had an excellent view of the traffic officers who stopped each and every vehicle on the highway. They had an entire fleet of Metro minibuses on tap to enable them to investigate motorists’ traffic fine status or to hold the unlucky ones who could not come up with the cash to make their problems disappear.

We were not the only people enjoying the spectacle. Judging by the conversations of the people around us, they also preferred a rest to dealing with the ladies and gentlemen of the Metro police.

Dozens of motorists spotted the roadblock too late and opted to make U-turns and drive against the traffic on the centre island to escape. One fool even reversed a good 150m on the highway to the garage’s off-ramp.

“They aren’t doing anything about road safety,” a man next to us said. “Just look at the havoc.”

“Road safety?” his mate asked. “Their intent isn’t to get the driver to change his ways, it’s to create a positive cash flow situation for themselves and their bosses.”

This got a burly biker at another table hot under the collar. I can’t repeat his comments, but words such as “snout” and “trough” and “filth” were used often.

Are these people right? I certainly got the impression that the traffic police were making criminals of ordinary citizens. Even innocent people like me and Snapdragon felt guilty and uncomfortable.

Yes, the roads are full of traffic offenders. The Metro police should throw the book at them. But you can’t fight thuggery with thuggery. Police officers, by definition, should be held to a higher standard.

Dirk Lotriet. Picture: Alaister Russell

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