Alleged abuse by traffic cop

2014-04-07 00:00

Conduct unbecoming

ZOHRA Sooliman of the Gift of the Givers Organisation had a run-in with a traffic policeman whose name is known to The Witness.

The incident happened on September 17, 2013. She wrote to the Msunduzi traffic department and was assured by a secretary there that she would hear from the superintendent soon. Three weeks later, she had not heard from them. A month later, her office followed up telephonically, and was told that there is a queue to follow and that they have the letter.

Sooliman wrote to Witness Warriors saying a little over six months have passed and there has been no word from them, despite checking with the secretary again early this year. “You will realise from the letter the extent of humiliation and embarrassment the officer in question brought to me.”

She attached a letter she had written to the traffic department complaining about the conduct of the officer.

Sooliman said that in September, she had a bit of a medical mishap when her blood sugar went low and in her disorientation, she turned the wrong way into Thomas Street, which is a one-way street. She quickly realised her mistake and turned into a nearby lane. The officer in question approached and was allegedly extremely abusive. She admitted her guilt, but the abuse allegedly continued. By this time, there was a large crowd gathered around and some tried to get the officer to calm down, but according to Sooliman, he would not stop. Her situation was compounded when the officer discovered that she did not have her driver’s licence on her. By this time, her husband arrived and offered to go home and get the licence. She said even with her husband present, the traffic officer continued to shout and scream at her. “After being civil did not seem to have any impact, I told him that he did not have any respect, especially for a member of the opposite sex, this made him even more aggressive,” she said.

Sooliman said that she was a responsible law-abiding citizen, and accepted full responsibility for her mistake and was prepared to comply with whatever was required of her. However, she strongly believed that the traffic officer’s conduct “was totally unacceptable and uncalled for”.

She said that even now, when she visits the area where the incident occurred, shopkeepers and people ask her what became of the matter.

“ In my conversations about the incident with other traffic officers and people from the community, I was told that I was not the first person who suffered such humiliation and that this particular officer has a problem. He has even locked up some people in prison for no reason or for minor contraventions. Some people were lucky to escape this as they either contacted another traffic officer or were lucky enough that another traffic officer appeared at the scene,” Sooliman said.

She told Witness Warriors that she got the impression that the traffic department was not keen to address the matter. “This is not a personal vendetta. I believe that we cannot have people on the force treating unsuspecting citizens in such a derogatory manner,” she said.

Msunduzi spokesperson Madeleine Jackson-Plaatjies said that now that the matter has been brought to the attention of the municipal manager, who is the accounting officer, it will receive the attention it deserves. She said that it will be dealt with through the relevant internal processes.

“The complainant will be kept abreast of the developments in this regard. In addition, we urge residents to report incidents of this nature directly to the office of the municipal manager as the municipality views these kinds of incidents in a very serious light and must be attended to from the highest administrative office in the municipality.”

Help with insurance claims

Last week we noted that insurance claims to the municipality were being ignored and that people had been waiting for up to three years to find out what happened to claims. Many of these were for damaged electrical goods after power outages. Msunduzi’s Madeleine Jackson-Plaatjies was asked to help and she responded: “Anyone with outstanding insurance claims and/or new claims may submit their queries directly to Mr Sipho Nxumalo by e-mailing or phoning 033 392 2271.”

Unhappy in Allandale

A resident wrote: “Service delivery to the northern areas is really pathetic. The verges along Allandale Drive proceeding up Plymouth is so overgrown. Drains are blocked due to the overgrowth covering the openings to water drains. The drain past Samana Road, on the left hand side of the road, heading towards the robots, is blocked. After the last heavy downpour, the road was flooded.

“I travel through Scottsville every day and stand amazed to see how frequent the area is serviced and how excellent the upkeep is in comparison with the northern areas.”

Msunduzi’s Nqobile Madonda responded: “The relevant departments have maintenance programmes in place that seek to address the writer’s concerns in all areas within Msunduzi Municipality, and in that way all areas are serviced equally and none is said to be favoured over the other. The writer is, however, encouraged to report such matters to the relevant departments and obtain reference numbers which could facilitate easier checking on the status of the fault.”

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