We’ve a whole bunch of heroes this week, whose collective actions have helped to clean up the mean streets of the city of gold – those civic-minded folk who report, and continue to report, traffic cop bribery and other nefarious act by City officials to Corruption Watch.

It was their tip-offs that prompted Corruption Watch to put pressure on the City of Joburg to get tough on corrupt Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) traffic officers. And our heroes’ actions have had far-reaching consequences that will benefit everyone: this week, the City came up with a strategy to address bribery on the roads, and indeed, across the metro, in all its departments and municipal entities, and among all elected public representatives.
 
Corruption Watch has received a continuous stream of complaints from the public about the JMPD traffic cops. This led to the organisation releasing its Law for Sale Report in April and the start of its “No more Tjo-tjo” campaign, but did not stop the reports from landing in our inbox. But the City listened, and this week introduced its anti-corruption plan, tailored according to Corruption Watch’s recommendations.
 
The report detailed high levels of bribery within the JMPD and showed that one in four drivers on Johannesburg roads has been asked to pay a bribe.
 
After a period of sustained public pressure, Corruption Watch met the City’s manager, Trevor Fowler, and the JMPD chief, Chris Ngcobo, in August 2012 to hammer out a framework. It is a victory for those active citizens who spoke out and took a stand with us against bribery and abuse on Joburg’s roads. But it is also just a step in the right direction. We now need to ensure the City’s anti-corruption plan is implemented properly and its principles adhered to, so that long-term behaviour change can take place.
 
Corruption Watch will continue to monitor progress, but to really bring about change, an active citizenry is needed, to keep a vigilant eye out, to keep reporting corruption, and to keep holding the City and its police force accountable.
 
“We want to believe that the City’s response indicates a willingness to listen to the citizens and a readiness to constructively address bribery on the roads. The public always has an important role to play in this and the City’s recognition of this role is a step in the right direction,” said Corruption Watch’s executive director David Lewis.
 
JMPD traffic officers will from now on be required to wear visible identifiable name tags, introduce themselves by showing an identification card, and inform motorists of their rights.
 
In releasing its plan, the City has also opened a hotline where the public can report public officials who are abusing their positions. This initiative, which will be monitored by a panel of independent advisers in KwaZulu-Natal, will operate 24 hours a day.
 
This week, magistrate Mohammed Jooma in the Orlando Magistrate’s Court, found metro police officer Morapedi Lefakane guilty of taking a R200 bribe to lose a police docket, and sentenced Lefakane to five years in jail. It is expected that the new hotline will lead to more convictions in the short term, and behaviour change in the long term.
 
Corruption Watch applauds all those who play their part in combating fraud and bribery by reporting it to us. You can report an incident online, where you can also sign the pledge against corruption. Or you can call the Corruption Watch office on 011 447 1472, SMS the word BRIBE to 45142 (R1 per SMS), send an email to info@corruptionwatch.org.za, or post a snail-mail letter to PO Box 113, Parklands, 2121.
 
Or you can phone the City of Joburg’s toll-free hotline on 0800 00 25 87, or send the City a toll-free fax on 0800 00 77 88, send an SMS to 32840 (R1.50 per SMS), or send an email to Anticorruption@tip-offs.com.
Excerpt
Since Corruption Watch opened its doors, Joburg residents have reported a wide range of corruption, from Pikitup workers asking for bribes to metro cops stealing personal belongings. Their actions have led to the City’s anti-corruption plan.
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