An Eastern Cape traffic cop was sentenced today to 7 years imprisonment of which 3 years were suspended for 5 years for offering a taxi driver a R100 bribe.
Judge JJ Claassen of the Commercial Crimes Court in Port Elizabeth handed down the sentence, which will see Mthithuzeli Solomin Dwane, a Traffic Officer employed by the Provincial Traffic Department stationed at Aberdeen, see some real jail time for the R100 bribe if a possible appeal against the conviction fails.
The charge sheet read as follows:
- The Accused is a Traffic Officer employed by the Provincial Traffic Department stationed at Aberdeen. He is a public officer and person who is party to an employment relationship, as defined in section 1 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, 12 of 2004 (the Act). At all relevant times it was part of the Accused’s duties to prevent crime and to ensure that road traffic laws are properly and fairly enforced.
- On 1 May 2016, whilst on duty, the Accused was driving an official traffic department motor vehicle on the road between Beaufort West and Aberdeen, when he stopped a taxi vehicle driven by the complainant, Bradley Wayne Seekoei; and
- The Accused called Mr. Seekoei to the traffic vehicle and asked him for his driver’s license and a permit for transporting passengers. Mr. Seekoei handed him his driver’s license as well as a file with the vehicles documentation and informed the Accused that the taxi does not need the permit as it had a valid operator card and could only transport 9 passengers. The Accused kept Mr. Seekoei’s driver’s license and the file and instructed Mr. Seekoei to follow him and to stop where he will tell the complainant to stop the taxi; and
- The Accused drove off, being followed by Mr. Seekoei. He stopped his traffic vehicle and Mr. Seekoei stopped as well. The Accused informed Mr. Seekoei that he could issue him with a huge fine for not being in possession of the said permit. He then returned the driver’s license and the file and told Mr. Seekoei to drive on as he will get him on the Graaff-Reinet road; and
- Mr. Seekoei drove off, but outside Aberdeen, was again instructed by the Accused to stop the taxi vehicle. The Accused informed the complainant that he was going to write him a huge fine for the taxi’s lights. The complainant responded that there was nothing wrong with the taxi’s lights. The Accused told Mr. Seekoei that he must pay the Accused a protection fee to protect him from the other traffic officials, they had just passed outside Aberdeen. He said that Mr. Seekoei enjoyed his protection from the said officials; and
- The complainant went to his vehicle, took out a R 100 note which he photographed before handing it to the Accused; and
- Mr. Seekoei thereafter went straight to the South African Police Services to report the incident; and
- The money constitutes a gratification as defined in section 1 of the Act; and
- The manner in which the accused acted in offering to accept the gratification, falls within the ambit of the manner variously proscribed in sections 3(i) to (iv) and 4(1)(i) to (iv) of the Act, to wit, in a manner:
- that amounts to the
(aa) illegal, dishonest, unauthorized, incomplete, or biased exercise, carrying out or performance of any powers, duties or functions arising out of a constitutional, statutory, contractual or any other legal obligation; and/or
- that amounts to
(aa) the abuse of authority; and/or
(bb) a breach of trust; and/or
- designed to achieve an unjustified result; and/or
- that amounts to any other unauthorized or improper inducement to do or not to do anything.