When last have you seen a *“regte egte” traffic cop doing point duty; or directing traffic at the scene of an accident; or pulling a vehicle off the road? Have they all died out?
I got my driver’s license in the days when the sight of a traffic cop made you sit up straighter behind the wheel and concentrate on your driving and immediate surroundings. The speed cop of yesteryear bore the brunt of many jokes – typically depicted as Afrikaans-speaking, dim-witted, uneducated, and ill-mannered. But doing what needed to be done, and doing it well.
Few people realise that being a speed cop is hard work – driving a motorbike in all kinds of weather conditions, risking your life when chasing after drunk and aggressive drivers, confronting hostile road users, etc, etc.
I honestly cannot remember one instance where a bribe was asked or given – although it might have happened to other drivers. One thing is for sure; taxis did not own the road like they do today, nor were people constantly being killed because of unsafe vehicles, or by those who have bought their driver’s licenses from corrupt officials.
Nowadays the uniformed officials who are seen at roadblocks – or escort the blue light gravy train – contribute very little to road safety or law enforcement.
Like most government employees, cops forget that the public pay their salaries.
I know that some people will disagree when I say that the cops are inefficient, corrupt, incompetent, and in most cases, unhelpful. Add to this mix that they are the biggest suppliers of firearms to criminals in this country (through “lost” and unaccounted official weapons) and the fact that SAPS members are constantly in the news because of crimes that they have committed.
In short – I do not trust a cop as far as I can throw my own nose.
As with most things in this country, traffic enforcement has gone to the dogs.
I never thought that I would say this, but, please: could we have the old “regte egte” speed cop back – the rude **“boertjie” who started writing a traffic fine the moment he got off his bike.
Ah, only in dreams.
* “regte egte” – dyed in the wool
** “boertjie” – the people Malema wants to kill