PMB’s ‘fake traffic officer’ caught after making an illegal turn

2018-01-08 13:45
LEFT: The traffic officer’s cap that was confiscated from a man who was arrested at the weekend for impersonating a traffic officer. RIGHT: The traffic officer’s badge that was confiscated from the ‘fake traffic officer’ on Saturday.

LEFT: The traffic officer’s cap that was confiscated from a man who was arrested at the weekend for impersonating a traffic officer. RIGHT: The traffic officer’s badge that was confiscated from the ‘fake traffic officer’ on Saturday. (Supplied)

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A man wanted for posing as a traffic officer blew his own cover and was arrested after he made an illegal traffic manoeuvre in town on Saturday morning.

Msunduzi Municipality’s acting traffic inspector Bheki Zondi said they had been on the hunt for the man who was allegedly illegally extorting money from motorists in the Pietermaritzburg city centre for two weeks.

Zondi said traffic officers had recently arrested a metered taxi driver who owed R5 800 in fines.

“The taxi driver told us that he had recently paid R3 800 to a traffic officer who had promised to write-off all his traffic fines.

“He said that traffic officer told him that the R800 would be paid to me [Zondi] as cold drink money.”

Zondi said there had been more cases reported about this “fake traffic officer” collecting bribes from motorists, especially taxi drivers, and they have been on the lookout for him since then.

On Saturday morning, Zondi said he came across a silver Hyundai i20, which fitted the description of the car that was being used by the “fake traffic officer”.

“The man was driving down Church Street and turned right, which is not allowed on that road, so we followed him and signalled him to pull over,” said Zondi.

Zondi said the man, who had a traffic officer’s cap on display in his rear window and a blue light on his dashboard, apologised for the wrong turn and announced himself as a traffic officer from the Shanela Operation.

“I asked him for his driver’s license and appointment card which he said were with his wife in Howick. He said he was rushing to attend to his child who had been bitten by a snake.”

Zondi, who suspected that the man could be the fake traffic officer they had been looking for, said they took the man in to verify his information.

“After checking his information on our system we found that he did not have a driver’s license and that he had given us the wrong surname.”

He said the man was taken to Pietermaritzburg (Loop Street) police station where he was arrested and charged for impersonating a peace officer, supplying false information, driving without a driver’s license and violating the rules of the road. Zondi said the man said the traffic officer’s cap, blue light and badge confiscated from him belonged to his brother.

Zondi urged motorists who had fallen victim to this man’s tactics to report the matter to the police.

“We are happy that we were able to arrest this man as he was tarnishing the reputation of traffic officers and also using our names to extort money.”

Zondi also urged motorists not to pay outstanding fines on the side of the road.

“If a motorist has outstanding fines, a real traffic officer would take you to the station where you can pay your outstanding fines and get a receipt and if you cannot pay for those fines we will detain you.

“It is also important to note that a traffic officer cannot write off your debt. That can only be done by the courts,” said Zondi.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said the man was set to appear at the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court soon.


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