Following a recent spate of hijacking incidents involving criminals imitating police officials, Head of Visible Policing for the South African Police Services (SAPS), Major General Michael Mohlala, has urged motorists to know what they are entitled to do during a roadblock.
Motorists have been pulled over by unmarked cars and individuals who are not wearing the traditional SAPS uniform, claiming that drivers need to leave their vehicle during a search. They then attempt to hijack the car.
In an interview with CapeTalk, General Mohlala shared that a key identifier of a legal roadblock is an authenticated document.
“Act 68 of 1995 dictates that the National Commissioner has delegated according to section 13(8) that an authorization document that is signed by the station commander and define’s the details of the roadblock such as date, time and officials involved.”
This act and authorization document also dictates a set of rules that all official police must follow as Mohlala explains.
“By any request by a member of the public any police officer must present his or her appointment certificate.”
If there is an emergency roadblock, officials – whether they are in uniform or not – must still present their identification and appointment certificate to members of the public.
Regarding the authenticity of the ‘appointment document’, Mohlala explains that the document includes a senior officials name that must be present during the roadblock and provide suitable identification to prove as such.
He went on to indicate that even undercover officers in unmarked vehicles must follow protocol and procedure as dictated by the SAPS guidelines.
“In terms of unmarked vehicles, we must remember that we have detectives and crime intelligence but the rule is that there must be a blue light. Citizens have a right to ask for identification from police during a roadblock,” Mohlala said.
Police officials are required to have a name tag along with a bullet proof vest, reflector jackets and an appointment certificate for it to be recognized as a legal roadblock.
Motorists are urged to ask for the letter of appointment along with the police officials identification and name tag when stopped at a roadblock.