EXCLUSIVE: Gauteng traffic boss accused of abuse of state power and intimidation

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Ayanda Mdluli

JOHANNESBURG- The Director of Operations at the Gauteng Traffic Department, Eugene Klopper is being accused of mismanagement, abuse of power, harassment and engaging in underhanded tactics to intimidate some members and veteran traffic police officers within the organisation’s Special Patrol Unit.

Klopper’s mismanagement of the unit is alleged to be so severe that veteran police officers who spoke to Africa News 24-7 claim that he was directly responsible for an accident that took place towards the end of July this year during the week of the BRICS Summit in Sandton.

According to some of the senior officers, Klopper side-lined them in favour of “rookie” officers who caused an accident while they were transporting the president of Botswana in Johannesburg during the BRICS Summit.

This claim has been denied by the Gauteng Department of Community Safety’s Ofentse Morwane who said that the Department has no record of an incident involving the GTP Special patrol Unit with a vehicle transporting the president of Botswana.

Responding to questions posed by Africa News 24-7, Morwane said: “The Gauteng Department of Community Safety wants to dismiss as misleading and devoid of the truth allegations that the Gauteng Traffic Police (GTP) Special Patrol Unit was involved in an accident with a vehicle transporting the President of Botswana. The Department does not have officials called rookies, instead, all the officials undergo training in the college, get qualified as traffic officers and are permanent officers. It must be noted that the Department of Community Safety provides VIP Protection Services through the Office of the Premier in the province.”

However, some senior officers said the Department was covering Klopper’s tracks who is accused of abusing state resources to raid the homes of six traffic officials in order to serve them with suspension papers for insubordination. Most of the officers are senior inspectors whose duties are to provide VIP escorts and they claim that suspension letters were served on them without following due process.

“Since we were seconded from community safety we have been harassed by Klopper who has removed us for no reason. We work overtime and he refuses to compensate us accordingly, especially those who are viewed as loyal to former president Jacob Zuma. The new recruits who were appointed by Klopper after he side-lined us hit the car of the president of Botswana. Klopper has compromised the unit with his antics and he must be removed,” said one of the senior officers.

Another senior inspector told a harrowing tale of how Klopper had sent some members of the SAPS from Johannesburg Central Police Station which is known infamously as John Voster Square to intimidate him and his family. He alleges that he received threatening messages from Klopper and police officers who came to the house, operating outside of their jurisdiction.

“I live in Alberton and I have another colleague in Dawn park who was also intimidated by members of the SAPS from Johannesburg Central. If police were looking for us why did they not send police from Alberton or Dawn park because that is where we stay. These officers came to my house unannounced with firearms. My life is in danger and I do not know if they are even real police or not,” said the officer.

At the time of publication, Africa News 24-7 could not verify if indeed a member of SAPS Johannesburg Central Police Station had visited the homes of the officer as alleged. However, Africa News 24-7 can confirm that various cases of intimidation, harassment and defamation of character have been opened against Klopper. An investigation by Africa News 24-7 has established that the case in question carries the case number CAS.614/08/2018 at the Alberton police Station while further charges of intimidation, harassment and defamation of character have been laid against Klopper at Dawn park police station under the case number CAS.295/08/2018.

Both of the officers who opened the cases claim that a Brigadier Ndlovu who is head of detectives and an alleged personal friend of Klopper and who is stationed at a SAPS provincial office in Aeroton was interfering in both the investigations, putting unnecessary pressure on the head detectives at Alberton Police Station Colonel De Fillette.

De Fillette refuted claims on interference in the case, saying that All correspondence between the parties involved was to ensure that the case is investigated thoroughly and properly. Ndlovu refused to answer allegations of interference and told Africa News 24-7 that he would institute legal action if the story was published about him using intimidating tactics against fellow members of the SAPS in other jurisdictions.

Morwane, confirmed that four officials were suspended. “As such the department would not be indulging in that as it is a matter between the employer and employee. The necessary labour relations process are currently taking place,” she said.

She further dismissed claims that there were employees who were being intimidated.

“The officers in question were asked to come and sign for departmental correspondence and they did not hence the departmental correspondence had to be sent to the latest physical addresses that are in the records of the department. Regarding the matter of Mr. Klopper, we wish to state that he acted as an employee of the department and within the scope of his work. Officials who have dissatisfaction about his actions have the right to follow the avenues available if they wish to challenge the matter,” explained Morwane.

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