Anthony Benadie MPL
Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga
The DA has called on safety and security MEC Vusi Shongwe to investigate allegations of traffic officials extorting spot fines from unsuspecting motorists along the R40 en route to the Kruger National Park.
This comes after the DA received reports of two incidents in July and August where foreign tourists complained to their travel agents about being extorted by individuals claiming to be traffic officials.
One group of tourists was forced to pay a 150 Euro spot fine for no apparent reason, and no receipt was issued. Another group was pulled over and subsequently reported the incident to the nearest police station, when they were informed that those stopping them were not genuine traffic officials.
The DA has written to safety and security MEC Vusi Shongwe requesting an investigation into these allegations, as well as to closely monitor this route, as the extortion of foreign visitors will severely damage Mpumalanga as tourism destination.
We also called on the MEC to issue a public statement warning tourists against paying spot fines, and to drive a campaign informing the public of their rights when pulled over by traffic officials, and to encourage the public to report any suspicious activity to government’s anti-corruption hotline.
So too, the DA calls on any motorist who experiences any incident of extortion to accumulate as much information about the incident as possible, including dates, times, places, vehicle description and if possible names of officers and to report such to the DA, who will immediately bring this to the attention of the necessary senior authorities.
Mpumalanga cannot afford to suffer any economic loss or further damage to our tourist industry at the hands of a few corrupt individuals.