Cop ‘spotter’ to stop

2010-09-16 00:00

MOTORISTS around the country will no longer have a “heads-up” on the whereabouts of traffic officers.

That’s because Twitter’s main renegade informant has made a public promise to stop sending tweets divulging the location of roadblocks, and the group in KwaZulu-Natal has followed suit.

Controversial tweep, @PigSpotter (or Cliff as he is otherwise known) announced yesterday on Johannesburg Talk Radio 702 that he will stop tweeting the location of roadblocks.

PigSpotter’s tweets, which refer to traffic officers as pigs, bacon and other pork-related names, generally tell motorists where to expect roadblocks and speed traps.

“Bacon stopping cars in the service rd between Woodmead and Marlboro,” he tweeted shortly before his interview yesterday.

A local twitter account, PigSpotter_KZN, was set up to warn motorists in the province about roadblocks and speed traps.

The last tweet from PigSpotter_KZN was tweeted at 11.10 am yesterday, less than an hour after the interview. “Metro cops on N2 Northbound just after M4 split.”

Back in Johannesburg, interviewer Kieno Kammies raised concern yesterday that PigSpotter’s tweets may abet criminal activity.

In response, Cliff explained that his intention was to root out corruption by helping motorists avoid police officers who demand bribes.

Kammies and Cliff reached an agreement on air: Cliff will stop publicising the location of roadblocks in exchange for a weekly radio slot where issues of police corruption will be raised.

This does not spell the end of PigSpotter’s tweets.

“I am NOT stopping. Only not reporting on roadblocks as promised,” he clarified on twitter yesterday.

Although Cliff and his supporters see his tweets as a service, Johannesburg Metro Police spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said Cliff will arrested for “obstructing or defeating justice”.

“He will be arrested even if he stops tweeting now,” he added.

Asked if the police threat makes him nervous, Cliff told The Witness, “No, I’m not. I actually welcome an opportunity to speak to Mr Minnaar on neutral grounds to discuss ways of going forward.”

The issue is a delicate one, with legal experts debating whether Cliff and other traffic cop tweeters can be charged with defeating the ends of justice.

Said web.tech.law: “In this case PigSpotter’s right to express himself through tweets about police roadblocks and traps would be weighed up against the importance of curbing traffic offences, many of which endanger other motorists’ or pedestrians’ personal safety.”

The incident is being likened to motorists signalling traffic officers by flashing headlights at one another.

KZN Road Traffic Inspectorate spokesperson Zinhle Mngomezulu said there is no legislation on such matters.

“There is no strict legislation prohibiting people from doing that. They can be disciplined by way of a warning, but there is no specific act,” she said.

 

OUR Facebook friends shared their opinions on PigSpotter:

•“I wouldn’t do what he was doing. There are a lot of people on our roads that shouldn’t be there and are a menace to the rest of the motorists!”

•“It’s disservice to everyone who has to be on the road by whatever means of transport, including pedestrians.”

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