Cop not guilty of taking R100 bribe
Johannesburg - The Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Friday found a traffic officer not guilty of accepting a bribe during a roadblock.
Traffic officer Angelo Sampson, 38, of the Parow, Cape Town, traffic department, appeared before magistrate Amrith Chabilall, who launched a scathing attack on the roadblock system that allowed each member of the "team" to do as they pleased.
Chabilall said the City of Cape Town, and all other entities involved in roadblocks, needed to ensure that systems and procedures were in place to ensure motorists were treated fairly and honestly.
The magistrate said senior traffic officer Marius Visser, who was in charge of the roadblock in question, had failed dismally in his duties that night.
Chabilall said the roadblocks set up by the Parow traffic department only put pressure on people and ripped them off.
"This court urges the traffic authorities to take note of the court's recommendations, to have procedures in place to protect the rights of all right-minded people."
Chabilall said it was important for the court to determine the truth, but in this case the court thought the truth had not been told.
Prosecutor Ezmerelda Johnson alleged that taxi driver Luvuyo Bonani, after his arrest at the late-night roadblock in February last year, asked Sampson what was to happen to him.
Sampson allegedly replied that an amount of R250 would secure Bonani's release, but Bonani only had R100 on him, which Sampson allegedly accepted.
Sampson denied this, and told the court there was no control at the roadblocks, and that each member of the team did his own thing.
Chabilall said the back door of the patrol van at the scene could only be locked by using handcuffs, but on the night no member of the team had handcuffs.
The door was not locked after Bonani was placed in the van.
Chabilall said Bonani's keys were confiscated, and placed on a table in a traffic department bus at the scene. He said Visser, as the officer in command of the roadblock, was seated in the bus, but failed to see anyone remove Bonani's keys and return them to him.
"Visser was in charge of the entire operation. He conceded in court that what happened that night was his responsibility, and that he should have had a system in place to ensure that things confiscated from drivers were under proper control," said Chabilall.
"He failed to do so, and the court got the impression that the only reason for his presence was to make up numbers."
Chabilall said the driver of the patrol van had been in control of those under arrest in the back of the vehicle, but even he had not noticed Bonani getting out and driving off in his taxi.