Bribing the cops

Roy conducted an interesting experiment the other day.  When caught talking on his mobile phone by one of Joburg‘s finest, he managed to ‘negotiate’ the fine down from R500 to R50 and, in the process, sparked quite a debate about the ethics of such ‘negotiations’.

There are different views on this sort of thing, especially given recent events, which has become fairly commonplace in many parts of South Africa.  What happens here isn’t unusual and doesn’t mean that we live in a lawless society.  I suspect it is a product of poor funding and difficult economic conditions experienced by our metro police.  Anyway, the way it tends to work is that a driver is pulled over for speeding or talking on a mobile phone without a handsfree and is informed about the fine for such activities.  The traffic cop then opens the door for a bribe to either reduce or forget the fine and often the driver pays up.

I have had a couple of these encounters and the approach that works for me is to agree to the fine on the basis that I did something I shouldn’t have.  If the cop is out for a bribe then he tends to wave me off rather than deal with a situation where he opened the door for a bribe, discovered I am a lawyer, and found himself faced with someone who wants to do the "right thing" and pay the fine.  It kinda screws up their plan a bit.  But that is just me.

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