Hiker claims he paid for a lift in police van

2010-10-19 00:00

A SHOCKED motorist did not hesitate to take down a number plate of a police vehicle which he saw picking up hitchhikers outside Pietermaritzburg on Sunday afternoon.

Sipho Mkhize said he witnessed the incident, which annoyed him, while he was driving to Richmond from Pietermaritzburg.

He said the officer who was initially alone in the vehicle picked up three hitchhikers in different spots on the Richmond Road at about 3 pm. He said the officer was in civilian clothes and was also driving to Richmond.

Mkhize said he saw the police twin-cab bearing SA Police Service livery and “Richmond” pick up two women who were hitch-hiking from the Thornville off-ramp.

The van stopped again for another man near Baynesfield off-ramp.

“When the male hitchhiker alighted in Richmond town, I went to ask him how much he had been charged and he told me R5.

“He said he did not see how much the two women had been charged,” said Mkhize, who was driving with another man.

He said his passenger took down the registration number of the police vehicle and tried to take a picture of the incident using his cellphone.

He said that while they were taking pictures they were worried that the officer might intimidate them.

“When I saw this happening I got annoyed because the state vehicles are not supposed to be used for personal benefit. I took the details of the vehicle because I wanted this police officer to be dealt with for abusing a police vehicle,” said Mkhize.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan admitted that the officer had picked up two people in Thornville, but she said the two were police informers.

“The South African Police Force confirms that a member on official duty picked up two persons from Thornville, who form part of an investigation into a housebreaking case that occurred in the Richmond area.

“At no stage was any other person picked up at Baynesfield,”Jeevan insisted. The allegation about the R5 “will be investigated once it is substantiated by evidence”, she added.

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