‘Microwave officer’ resigns

JOHN HARVEY

The 45-year-old police officer who was based at the Pinelands police station and stands accused of cooking blood samples to extort money from suspected drunk drivers has resigned from the SAPS.

According to Pinelands station commander Lieutenant Colonel Helena Mouton, the officer “bought his discharge from the SAPS, which means he basically resigned”.

The man is out on bail as the case continues in the Goodwood Magistrate’s Court.

He was arrested at the station on December 10 for allegedly using a microwave to cook the samples, rendering blood alcohol content undetectable.

Police say many alleged drunk drivers would have walked free because of the scam, which allegedly saw the officer pocketing large sums of cash from drunk driving suspects.

In December, a survey of South Africans conducted by the Ethics Institute of South Africa found that 75 percent of those who were asked for a bribe ended up paying it.

The research was conducted in Massmart stores in Gauteng, Durban, Cape Town and Polokwane. The 6 380 respondents were evenly split in terms of gender, with good representation across age and income groups. Twenty-six percent of respondents earned less than R100 000 a year.

The research also found that most bribes were solicited to avoid traffic offences (36 percent).

“This is perhaps most worrying”, said Professor Deon Rossouw, CEO of EthicsSA. “Virtually everybody agrees that not enough is being done to combat bribery in the country, but perhaps we should be talking more about people’s individual responsibility not to participate in bribery.”