JPSA rejects and condemns Wayne Minnaar’s irresponsible response to abuse incident

JOHANNESBURG – The response offered by Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar of the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department to the incident of abuse perpetrated against Ms Kady-Shay O’Bryan by a JMPD officer must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

While Minnaar is correct that “If a person is stopped, it is expected for motorists to co-operate with the officer”, his other assertions are not only incorrect, but demonstrate a fascist attitude and complete lack of understanding of the various laws that govern the actions of Metro and Traffic Police, as well as the standing orders of the very Metro Police Department he claims to represent.

It is the absolute and legislated right of any person with a material interest therein to “demand” to see an officer’s certificate of appointment and by law this must be shown to that person upon demand, failing which the officer in question’s actions would be deemed to be illegal.

It is also a legislated requirement that each and every traffic officer wears a name tag above his or her right breast pocket, which name tag shall be visible at all times and it is a well-documented fact that JMPD personnel rarely do, despite repeated claims by the JMPD that these would be embroidered onto their personnel’s uniforms.  These claims are now several years old and to date; very few actually have been.

Despite the fact that JPSA has repeatedly warned the public that it is not a good idea to antagonise traffic officers by shoving cell phones in their faces, there is no law preventing anyone from recording their interactions with traffic officers or other law enforcement officials.  Motorists should not invite trouble to their doorstep, however senior management at Metro Police Departments, should not condone and indeed, encourage the abusive behaviour of their officers.

Instead of condoning the abusive behaviour of officers in the employ of the JMPD, Minnaar and his fellow senior management should be ensuring that their officers comply with the law and the JMPD’s standing orders and encouraging their officers to act like adults and responsible law enforcers, instead of thugs.

While the JMPD and Minnaar continue to condone and actively encourage abusive and unlawful behaviour by their officers, all they achieve is to fuel the growing resentment and disrespect of the JMPD and all who work for it.

We list hereunder the various laws that govern the wearing of name tags and the carrying and producing on demand of certificates of appointment, as well as the JMPD’s own standing orders dealing with these issues:

Section 334(2)(a) of the Criminal Procedure Act states that: “No person who is a peace officer by virtue of a notice issued under subsection (1) shall exercise any power conferred upon him under that subsection unless he is at the time of exercising such power in possession of a certificate of appointment issued by his employer, which certificate shall be produced on demand” (My emphasis).

Section 334(2)(b) of the Criminal Procedure Act states that “A power exercised contrary to the provisions of paragraph (a) shall have no legal force or effect”. (My emphasis).

Section 3A(5) of the National Road Traffic Act states that “An authorised officer shall not exercise any power or perform any duty unless he or she is in possession of his or her certificate of appointment.” (My emphasis).

Section 3A(6) of the National Road Traffic Act states that “An authorised officer shall produce his or her certificate of appointment at the request of any person having a material interest in the matter concerned.” (My emphasis).

Section 3A(7) of the National Road Traffic Act states that  “A traffic officer shall at all times when wearing a full or partial traffic officer’s uniform, display his or her official name tag above the right breast pocket of his or her uniform in such a manner that it is completely visible and easily legible.” (My emphasis).

Standing Order No. 13 of the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department states under paragraph 3.2.1 that “Members shall carry their Certificate of Appointment on their person at all times while on duty.”(Emphasis is exactly reproduced as per the JMPD standing orders)

Paragraph 3.2.3 of the JMPD Standing Order No. 13 goes on to say in bold type that “The Certificate of Appointment shall be produced on demand to a person having a material interest.” (Emphasis is exactly reproduced as per the JMPD standing orders).

Footnote:  On learning of this incident on Thursday 14 August, JPSA immediately put up a web page at www.jp-sa.org/coa.asp to provide true and proper information to motorists.  The JMPD does not bother itself with such trivial matters since it prefers to condone the abusive behaviour of its staff.

JPSA remains resolute that SANRAL is acting unlawfully

JOHANNESBURG – Justice Project South Africa has noted the utterings of Mr Vusi Mona quoted in the Citizen Newspaper on Monday 21 July 2014 and the contents of the subsequent media release sent out by SANRAL on Tuesday 22 July 2014.  

We shall not deal in detail with the childish and disparaging comments made by Mr Mona and SANRAL against Howard Dembovsky and Justice Project South Africa at this stage, save to say that we find it somewhat telling that they would choose to mount personal attacks instead of properly answering the allegations at hand.  Obviously, our rights to address their utterings in the appropriate forum are, and remain strictly reserved. 

Despite the unsubstantiated claims asserted in their media release, we remain resolute that SANRAL is indeed acting in contravention of the National Road Traffic Act and Regulations by fitting and using blue and/or blue and red flashing lights on their e-tolls branded vehicles which are operated by persons who, by their own assertions, are not law enforcement personnel, but civilians.  We furthermore find the claims by SANRAL that “If they don’t, they operate illegally” (referring to the vehicles) to be preposterous, baseless and somewhat laughable, since there is no legislation prescribing that a Police, Municipal Police, Traffic Police or Military Police vehicle must have blue and/or red and blue flashing lights in order to operate “legally” except where such vehicles are operated in contravention of road traffic signs and/or the speed limit – only that they may have them fitted. 

Regulation 176 of the National Road Traffic Regulations deals with the fitment of identification lamps and in particular, regulations 176(3)(a), 176(3)(b) and 176(3)(c) deal with and prohibit the fitment and use of blue and/or blue and red flashing lights on vehicles not operated by members of the South African Police Service, Municipal Police, Traffic Officers or the Military Police, regardless of in whose presence the said lights are operated.  

It is somewhat interesting that SANRAL has chosen to reply to our letters of demand solely through the media by making statements and issuing a media release in reply to our formal communications with them while completely failing to respond in writing directly to us; setting forth their beliefs of why they feel that they are entitled to violate the National Road Traffic Act and Regulations. 

We fully concur with their assertion that “It is not their opinion that matters but what the law says”, and we hereby redirect it straight back at them.  Where legal opinions differ, the only remedy is to argue the matter before the Court and that is exactly what we will do.  

We also wish to set the record straight and remind SANRAL and the public that despite their claims of having“won every challenge that has been taken to the courts of the country”, these claims are in fact untrue and HMKL 3 Investments (Pty) Ltd v SANRAL and others is just one example of a challenge they did not win.  We furthermore remind SANRAL that JPSA has not to date been one of the parties that SANRAL has “won” any legal challenges against.  At best, it is grossly misleading of SANRAL to suggest otherwise. 

In light of the deadlock we are faced with and the facts that are in dispute, JPSA is left with no choice but to approach the Court for a decision on this matter and we will do so in due course.  

JMPD’s traffic fines budget highlights skewed focus and psychopathic tendencies

JOHANNESBURG – Justice Project South Africa has noted with utter disgust a report in the Times Newspaper of Monday 21 July stating that the JMPD have failed to meet their revenue target for the third consecutive quarter by “only” managing to collect R301 million of their  R452 million “budget” in the third quarter.

A collection rate of 70% for traffic fines in South Africa is unheard of and stands in stark contrast to 30% in the Western Cape and the 12.55% contained in the 2012/13 annual report of the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) which is responsible for the administration of infringement notices issued under the AARTO Act; under which the JMPD is one of the only two traffic authority jurisdictions that are supposed to be operating. 

Serious questions must therefore be asked as to why it would be that the collection rates reported by the JMPD and the RTIA differ so dramatically, in light of the fact that all AARTO infringement notices are supposed to be registered on eNaTIS and administered by the RTIA.  It is abundantly clear that a forensic audit between what the JMPD has collected and what they have paid across to the RTIA is urgently required and we again call upon Treasury and the Auditor General to commission a forensic audit as a matter of urgency.  JPSA suggested this to Treasury as far back as 2011, but our recommendations were ignored.

Furthermore, if this is a quarterly budget as suggested, then it is safe to say that the JMPD has budgeted R1.7 billion (R425 million X 4) income from traffic fines in a single year.  This in itself highlights and exposes the JMPD as being nothing more than revenue generation and collection mechanism for the City of Johannesburg, as opposed to being a traffic law enforcement agency involved in achieving law and order and road safety objectives on our roads.

By far, the vast majority of the JMPD’s “law-enforcement” efforts are focused on erecting mobile speed cameras and hiding in the bushes, etc., and thereafter establishing roadblocks which cause gridlocked traffic in order for them to (often unlawfully) attain their reported 70% collection rate.

RoadblockOn Sunday 13 July 2014, the JMPD mounted simultaneous roadblocks which prevailed for six hours on the N1 North and South between Beyers Naude and Malibongwe Drives under the guise of enforcing traffic laws, including driving under the influence of alcohol wherein they managed to make no drink driving arrests whatsoever.  These roadblocks caused severe traffic disruption and caused innocent people caught up in them to incur substantial financial prejudice, including missing flights and paid for shows, etc.

It would appear that in the opinion of the JMPD, “the ends justify the means” and financial losses members of the public incur due to the JMPD’s unlawful actions are inconsequential, so long as it achieves its revenue targets.  JPSA is in the process of proving the JMPD’s thinking to be flawed and invites persons affected by the roadblocks of 13 July 2014 to contact us in order to recoup their losses from the JMPD.  Our website will soon supply details to affected parties on how to recoup their losses.

The JMPD have been allowed to continue to generate and chase revenues for the City of Johannesburg for more than long enough now and it is high time that they either shift their focus to ensuring law and order and saving lives on our roads, or be disbanded entirely.  Both they and the City of Johannesburg should be ashamed of their profiteering from death and injury on our roads, but instead they openly exhibit psychopathic tendencies in their insatiable love and pursuit of money.