Travel safely in South Africa – What do I do if a police officer tries to solicit a bribe?
One of the frequently asked questions tourists ask to ensure they travel safely in South Africa is what to do if they encounter an official who tries to solicit a bribe.
The Global Corruption Barometer Africa 2019 states that South Africans consider the South African Police Service (SAPS) to be the most corrupt institution in the country. However, the reality is that not all police in South Africa or corrupt or that travellers to South Africa will be targeted by corrupt officials when they visit South Africa.
If you do get pulled over, first off, know that it is strictly illegal for a traffic official or police officer to ask you for cash. Legitimate fines should be paid at a police station or magistrate’s court, where a receipt must be issued. If you have not broken the law, ask the officer to fine you. Remain respectful while refusing to pay the bribe.
You also have the right to ask a police officer to identify him or herself by showing their appointment card, which must be carried at all times. If you feel you are being or have been harassed, you are entitled to report misconduct to the SAPS Service Complaint Centre.
Travel safely in South Africa with these telephone numbers on hand
Ensure that you have the correct contact number (for SAPS: 0860 13 0860; traffic police: 0861 400 800; and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate: 012 399 0000). Take note of the badge number and name of the police officer in question, as well as license plate numbers and location of the roadblock, if applicable. Provide as much identifying information as you can in your report.
For more helpful tips to ensure you travel safely in South Africa, click on the links below: