Sometimes the good guys win one. And by good guys, I mean a group of dedicated Mozambican cops.
A news snippet in this month’s go! magazine describes how a party of South African tourists were pulled off the road by the usual AK-47-wielding policemen and compelled to pay a R1000 fine for a traffic “offence”. The travellers managed to get the cops’ licence plate and reported the incident to the SA High Commission in Maputo.
The bent coppers were apparently arrested the same day – with the cash still on them.
The best part of it, though, is that members of the Mozambican police complaints bureau then drove from Maputo to Paarl to take a statement and hand the money back.
This is great news. Mozambique has for years been plagued by a rash of bent policemen who intimidate tourists – staring down the barrel of an AK-47 will do that to one – and attempt to fleece them for bogus rules violations. So, it is great to see the Mozambicans taking this seriously. Corruption is the scourge that ruins tourism.
Obviously the cops concerned were charged with negligence in failing to remove their licence plates.
Great news, indeed. Let’s hope it’s the beginning of a trend in this part of the world.
We are in Maputo just about 1 week and have been stopped more than 10 times – yes, we are driving a SA registered vehicle. They ask for money for drinks, for food. Threaten to take you to police station. Be calm (like you have all the time in the world to wait), hold your ground and offer to go the police station. I bluffed I was calling my Embassy (but it was a colleague who was sending her husband). When she called me back, I spoke loud enough for the police to hear my relief someone from the “embassy” was coming. The police grew nervious (and probably bored), but not before a young, ignorant rambo wannabe jumped off the back of the police bakkie trying to get physical with my fiance. The country needs to do something about the police harassment bc I won’t stop complaining and sharing my encounters until the situation changes!
I have just returned from Maputo, where cops carrying in AK47′s asked myself & colleague for identification (we were on foot). My colleague had his passport I had my SA ID. They stated I needed to go to the station to pay a fine – which I gladly agreed however they did not want to do this – their comments “to do us a favour, they will accept half the fine 750 MZN” I was adamant to go to the station but my colleague just wanted to “get away”, he asked them if they were asking for a bribe – which they said no, it was helping us to get to our work faster. My colleague paid them 250 MZN and we duly left! Guess this is a common trait.
Thanks for the note. Despite what the tourism authorities say, it’s obvious that bent coppers still have the run of Maputo’s streets. Very bad for tourism.