What you should do when a police officer wants a bribe

 ·4 Aug 2015

Justice Project South Africa (NPC) has commended Greg Esterhuysen for his ‘active citizenry’ following his rejection of an attempted bribe solicitation by a JMPD officer on Christmas day 2014, which led to his subsequent arrest.

Video footage, captured by Esterhuysen, and posted on YouTube, which went viral in January 2015.

Since then, there have been a number of developments, said JPSA national chairman, Howard Dembovsky.

JPSA noted that whilst returning to his home in the Pilansberg late last year, Esterhuysen was stopped by a JMPD officer on the R512 going North just outside Lanseria Airport at approximately 17:55.

The JMPD officer said that they were conducting an “Arrive Alive” roadblock to check for drunk drivers and offered Esterhuysen the choice of being breathalysed or paying R200 and proceeding on his way without being breathalysed.

According to JPSA, Esterhuysen, who was not under the influence of alcohol opted not to pay the bribe and his partner captured the incident on her mobile phone.

Esterhuysen’s refusal to pay the bribe reportedly caused the JMPD officers in question to subject him to an alleged rigged breathalyser test after arresting him and taking him to Honeydew Police Station.

The officers drove the suspect to a medical facility to have his blood drawn before taking him back to Honeydew Police Station to be detained, JPSA said.

Esterhuysen was released on R1,500 bail, and was ordered to appear in court on the charge of driving under the influence of alcohol on Friday 31 July 2015.

According to JPSA, while at the police station, family members tried to lay charges of corruption against the JMPD officers, but were told by a SAPS Captain that they could not lay such a complaint “because no money had changed hands”.

In mid-January 2015, following the release of the footage, JPSA said it contacted Esterhuysen to assisted him to lay a formal complaint with the JMPD’s Internal Affairs Department and SAPS.

Read: South Africa a “bribery hot spot” in Africa

“Despite the fact that the complaint was formalised, the officer concerned has still not appeared before a disciplinary hearing. Greg has however not been intimidated by anyone since he laid these charges, contrary to the fears that many people hold to the effect that they will be intimidated if they do the right thing,” said Dembovsky.

On Friday 31 July 2015, Esterhuysen appeared at the Randburg Magistrates Court where his lawyer, Mr Jeffery Wheat of Geo Isserow and T L Friedman Inc. succeeded in having the charges against him withdrawn.

“Greg and his legal team will be taking the matter further by lodging a civil claim for damages against all parties concerned, including but not limited to the JMPD and the officers concerned, in their personal capacities,” Dembovsky said.

“JPSA wishes to commend Greg for the active citizenry he has exhibited throughout this matter. From refusing to pay the bribe to enduring the abuse meted out to him when he was arrested and subsequently following through with the appropriate actions to gain remedy, Greg has shown unusual and extraordinary courage in standing up for what is right,” said Dembovsky.

“By submitting to corruption and/or not taking action when their rights are abused by law enforcement officers, people are unfortunately guaranteeing that corruption and power abuse will continue to spiral out of control.”

He said that South African citizens owe it to themselves and their families to help curb the tide of corruption and power abuse by not paying bribes.

More on corruption in South Africa

SA corruption “almost out of control”

Why do we fight corruption?

R700 billion lost to corruption in South Africa

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