There is no escaping the web of roadblocks

2011-01-02 11:42

The impromptu roadblock on the R80 ­between Pretoria and Mabopane started slowly at about 8am.

The first arrest came after 30 minutes under a bridge on the road.

It was of an Indian asylum seeker who attempted to bribe a traffic officer.

The man was driving a vehicle whose licence had expired in November 2009.

To add to his woes he did not have a South African driver’s licence and tried to make a U-turn on the highway.

The roadblock on the busy R80 on Tuesday was just one of hundreds that are part of the Road Traffic Management Corporation’s (RTMC’s) strategy to stop and check one million cars in December.

In the past week 280?000 vehicles were checked, thousands of fines were issued and 560 drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Ashref Ismail, RTMC spokesperson, said that from October 1 to December 27 more than four million cars had been stopped and checked and more than 1.8?million fines were issued.

“We have a commitment to check a ­million cars a month,” said RTMC official Thabo Tsholotsane at the R80 roadblock.

“We also know that during the festive season we need to check for driver and car fitness as well as any other thing we might find.”
It was a bad day for foreigners.

A Ugandan man was caught driving a sedan illegally imported from China and licensed with a permit for a trailer.

He first tried to pass himself off as a herbalist but later admitted he worked for a Pretoria college as a driver.

A few minutes later a Chinese national was caught driving with a fake Swaziland driver’s licence.

His picture and name were on the ­licence card, but Swazi authorities contacted by telephone said their records showed that this particular licence ­belonged to one Manqoba Mbane.

Towards the three-hour mark the driver of a cash-in-transit vehicle refused to stop and tried to make a U-turn on the highway.

When one of the traffic officers flagged down the vehicle the driver ignored him, knocking down an officer and sending him sprawling to the ground.

Two security guards got out of the van, but the driver refused to and an argument ensued.

“The driver will under no circumstances get out of the vehicle.

There is a law that says you cannot stop us,” said one of the guards. If you want to arrest him you must ­escort us to the nearest police station ­because there is about R4 million in there.”

Despite their protestations, the driver was charged with recklessness and negligence and the guards with obstruction of justice. The vehicle was escorted to the nearest police station in Akasia.

After three hours the officers had stopped and checked 570 cars.

They issued 65 notices for vehicle ­defects, with the most common being worn out tyres.

Other offences were expired driver’s ­licences, driving without professional driving permits and driving without a ­licence.

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