Cops probe fine scam of Cape traffic officers

THE Hawks have opened an inquiry into an alleged money-making syndicate set up by senior Cape Town traffic officers and a loan shark.

THE Hawks have opened an inquiry into an alleged money-making syndicate set up by senior Cape Town traffic officers and a loan shark.

The scam was allegedly operated last year as part of the city's Operation Reclaim, during which motorists with unpaid fines were detained in a bus until they made payments.

The South African Municipal Workers Union blew the whistle on the corrupt practices in a dossier handed over two weeks ago to City of Cape Town executive director of safety and security Richard Bosman, Mayor Dan Plato and city manager Achmat Ebrahim.

The dossier included affidavits from four people who said they were detained in the traffic department's bus in February last year.

They were told to phone anyone who could bring cash, which should be equal to the fine plus a handling fee of R150.

When relatives arrived with the money they were told that only bank guaranteed cheques were accepted.

A man called "Halfie" Foremann would then hand them the cheques made out to the city and take the cash. Halfie was not a city employee.

Shameeg Hartzenberg told Sowetan he was locked up for unpaid fines of R3950.

"They told me to pay R3950 plus an extra R1000 for a guy there to issue a bank guaranteed cheque.

"My family paid. My father asked for a receipt but they said they would SMS it to me. Until today I haven't received it and I am not sure if the warrants have been cancelled," he said.

Samwu branch secretary Mikel Khumalo claimed that only black drivers were targeted, while white motorists were allegedly driven by traffic officers to the nearest ATM to withdraw money to pay their fines.

Bosman said he did not know anything about "Halfie", adding that the city's was probing the matter.

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