A Tale of 2 Little Pigs

Almost a year ago to the day, whilst in South Africa on a holiday I reminisced about my country. And despite its faults tried to remember the warm and fuzzy things that made it home - A Favourite Jersey.

Then more recently, at the end of 2012, my wife and I took the decision to move back to South Africa to be closer to family and in fact to begin our own family in our own country.

We weighed up the pro's and con's of moving from one of the world's safest countries - the United Arab Emirates, back to Gangster Paradise (a little Gauteng humor) but had really seen an improvement in the country and safety. Friends said we still had our tourist sunglasses on but we remained positive about our return.

However no-one had warned us of the new criminal element at work - overtly corrupt policeman who have gone beyond the normal shakedown to extort money to now borderline kidnapping where they take you to the ATM a force you under duress to draw money for them or else they plant drugs etc to falsely accuse you. There has been so much in the media about this in 2013, especially the police in our neighborhood - Sandton.

Well last night I got a taste of welcome back to South Africa and my tourist glasses were violently ripped right off.

Here is the blow by blow account:

I collected my wife and a girlfriend of hers at Rockets in Rivonia Boulevard at approximately 9:50pm on 1 August 2013. Whilst waiting for them in the car, an SAPS - South African Police Service - pick-up (small like a Fiat or Opel) pulled up next to me, I opened my window and greeted the police who just stared at me for about 30 seconds and they drove off without speaking at all. I just assumed they were looking at my car of which there are very few in SA.

After leaving the restaurant, I turned onto Riviona rd at 10th avenue in the direction of Sandton City. Just before North rd, a police car put its lights and siren on behind me. I pulled into the bus stop area and waiting while the police approached on foot.

I greeted them and they requested my drivers license, which I handed over. I was asked how many occupants I had in the car and I replied three. They said I was hiding another male person in the back and they wished to search me and asked me to exit my vehicle. I asked why I was to be searched and I was told for drugs and illegal firearms. I asked on what basis they wished to search me and was told they can search anyone they feel like. The police then said they has reason to suspect I was carrying drugs and illegal firearms. I asked to see their names and force numbers before I would consider exiting my car (since neither had their name badges on) and this was declined. I was told they do not have to give me this information. I also asked for a warrant or at least the basis of suspicion to which the policeman retorted – "you think you a lawyer now".

I was then told they could smell alcohol on me and accused me of drinking and driving – I offered to go to the Morningside Clinic for a blood test or wait for JMPD - Johannesburg Metro Police - to come administer a breathalyzer. They said why am I requesting a blood test and they did not have time to wait for Metro cops to come as it would take "some" for them to come. I also find this statement by them ridiculous for other that the fact the last time I had had a drink was days previously, is that I drive an extraordinarily high 4x4 so their heads were barely above the window height so they could not even have their heads in the car if they tried – in addition I had only opened the window partially – enough that they had an unobstructed view inside.

They continued to insist that I exit the vehicle to be searched and for the car to be searched. They then said I should get out of the car with my wife. I insisted on driving to the police station (which was approx 2km away) to be searched, to which the one policeman then said he would get in my car for the journey, which I promptly declined.

After much discussion with the two officers, I still refused to get out of my vehicle and continually  insisted that I wished to be escorted to the Sandton Police station. With them still insisting that I exit my vehicle I called 112 (something to remember is that the calls to Emergency 112 are recorded) and informed the operator that I had been stopped by the police and that they were refusing to accompany me to the police station for the search of myself and vehicle. The operator quite frankly was not much use but it was enough for the police, who heard the conversation on the car kit, to give my license back and tell me to "go".

I said to them that I refused to simply "go" and still wished to go to the police station to be searched. They then did follow me in their vehicle to the police station.

Upon arriving inside the police station I placed my arms in the air and requested to be searched and offered that after searching me they may search my car in the presence of more witnesses. They then said they no longer wished to search me as I had probably discarded the drugs out the window of my car. I challenged them as to whilst they were following me had they seen my car windows open or anything leave the confines of my car. I also offered to go to the Morningside Clinic where under the watch of a doctor blood could be draw to test for alcohol or any type of drug. Again they said they did not see why I would want a blood test.

They continued to decline my offer that as promised once at the police station that they may now search myself or my car.

Despite numerous requests again when at the police station for the police to identify themselves with their names and force number. They said it is against the law to provide their force numbers, which I pointed out is rubbish since if you get the SAPS to authenticate a document they write their force number on the copy. My wife was by this stage recording some of the going on inside the police station they attempted to stop her saying it was illegal to take their pictures and also illegal to take pictures of the police station – I informed them I did not recognize the police station as a national key-point and in my opinion thus not illegal.

They continued to ask why I needed to know their names and force numbers. I said that as a member of the public I was entitled to know this which they again rubbished saying it is illegal to provide their names or force numbers.

After sometime the station captain arrived at the front desk – I related the proceeding so far and insisted that the officers identify themselves by name and force number also pointing out neither has their names on their uniforms. The captain confirmed the advice to the public is if they are unsure or uncomfortable to stop or exit their vehicle to drive to the nearest police station or filling station (where there would be some CCTV). Yet he did not instruct the officers to provide their details to me but gave a hand written note with two names written.

In the presence of the captain they denied having accused me of drinking, having drugs, illegal firearms or hiding another male in my car. My wife and her girlfriend openly challenged them having been witnesses to the whole event. The police said I must not be able to understand english properly!

I again offered to be searched, for my car to be search and to go to the Morningside clinic for blood tests to determine alcohol or drug usage – all of which was declined.

I also explained that with all the negative press around these stop and searches that Sandton Police were doing which were then followed by planting of drugs and insistence that the police get in your car and drive you to an ATM to extort money what am I now to believe about this whole incident. Their was no response.

After almost 20 minutes next the road, followed by at least another 20 minutes at the police station I announced that unless the they (the police) intended searching me I was going home to which the captain agreed. I left and drove home.

Subsequently, a friend of my wife's who was also at the dinner has informed my wife they saw the smaller police pick up conferring with the second police pickup that stopped me, at the side of the road, about 5 minutes prior to me being stopped. I am of the belief that when the small pickup stopped next to me they were assessing the target potential for their extortion racket.

Be careful, they plant drugs or other contraband on you while conducting their "search" and then extort you from money.

Media Story 1
Media Story 2

The policeman who did 90% of the talking at the roadside and police station - note no name badge on his uniform.

The registration of their van

The paper given to me with their names - allegedly


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