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.
National Chairman – Justice Project South Africa (NPC)