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By Marizka Coetzer

Journalist


What’s good for the goose…

Minister urges festive cheer on roads, but journalist's late-night stop exposes officer's power trip and escape from accountability.


Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga called on motorists to adhere to road rules when travelling over the festive season.

Chikunga, however, forgot to urge the authorities to also behave on the roads, or is that taking a leaf out of Minister of Police Bheki Cele’s book?

That’s why it is important to be informed and know your rights when you are being pulled over.

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On Thursday, I had an after-hours hair appointment which took much longer than anticipated and saw me leaving the salon after 10pm – tired, irritated and not feeling like a million dollars.

On my way home I was pulled over by a police vehicle. It was strange because I was extra vigilant during this trip seeing that I was travelling with my 10-year-old daughter.

The male officer approached the driver’s window and wanted to know why I was out so late driving around and where I was going. After I explained, he wanted to know if I was drinking.

“Are you sure you are not drinking?” he asked multiple times. The answer remained no. At this point, I noticed my daughter starting to feel intimated as the officer continued to fish around for a reason to keep us on the side of the road in the dark.

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After the initial shock of being pulled over subsided, my logic kicked in and I started questioning the officer. I asked him for his identification and the purpose for pulling me over.

I don’t usually pull my media card, but when the officer took his badge out of his pocket which was supposed to be displayed on his uniform, I announced my title as a journalist and my intention to record the conversation to protect myself.

At this point, he refused to verify his name and put away his badge as he went back to the police vehicle parked behind my car.

His junior female colleague continuously apologised for his behaviour before getting into the police vehicle and making an illegal U-turn while speeding away into the night.

No word, no explanation, just gone.

Police officers should behave too.

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