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On Monday 15th October 2018 I travelled to the RTMC office of provincial traffic in Knysna. Initially, I had come into the area to possibly testify in Hylton’s case on Tuesday 16th at the George municipal court. My previous case and engagement with RTMC in Knysna (see other case for more details) had gone full circle, the George magistrates court claimed no knowledge of my matter, even though it had been requested by them in November 2017 after my last visit to the Knysa court, when the matter was struck off the roll. I tried in vain for almost a year to get a response from the court officials in George, i.e. if restarting the prosecution again or not. Finally I received an email from Rosina Botha (senior prosecutor in George), informing me that they are unaware of the matter and thus unable to assist, although when visiting Thembeka Winter’s (PA to Rosina) office a few months ago, I could see all my email communication on her screen. Rosina further suggested to direct my enquiry at RTMC Knysna, i.e. restore my private RGH property, which got unlawfully confiscated (without receipt thereof) at a roadblock outside Sedgefield in July 2017. In other words, after visiting Moffat Zukelwa (deputy traffic chief Knysna) shortly after the incident in July 2017, seeking a meeting with director of traffic Kenny Africa (suggested by Zukelwa), the matter being struck off the roll by magistrate Thafeni in November and the following months of communication and seeking clarification, we had come back to the beginning or passing RGH like a hot potato.
After Rosina’s last email I informed Moffat Zukelwa that on my next visit to Knysna I’d come by and collect by RGH property (number plates, record disc and travel card), not that I needed them, since I already had a second set made in July 2017, but just out of principle.
Just after noon on Monday at the RTMC office, speaking to RTMC agent and officer Payle, who is also the court officer for traffic, he informs me that they still cannot return my RGH property, allegedly I need some form of proof that they were confiscated in the first place. This is the very receipt they are supposed to issue according to their own NRTA (section 3F), but always chose to ignore just like all the other more important content of the same section. Payle also said that the state needs to restart the prosecution, needless to say,I filled him in about my endeavours with the court in George, every time suggesting to them just the same. Payle further suggested to return at 3pm and meet with Zukelwa and someone else, which I agreed to do since Payle wasn’t exactly approachable and not in a position to make a determination.
I went outside, sat in my conveyance parked down the road for a short while, making phone calls, maybe for 10 minutes; then travelling past the RTMC office around the first sharp corner and a traffic officer on his motorbike driving into the other direction, he spotted my number plated immediately, made a sharp u-turn and stopped next to me at the first stop street. He asked about the number plate and I explained, then he asked for a drivers licence and I explained again, offering him the RGH travel card. He was instantly aggravated, telling me that this was illegal, ordering me to follow him. I said that I had just been to his office, speaking to officer Payle and that I have a meeting scheduled with his superior in about 2 hours regarding my previous case. He said he didn’t care, that this is now another and new case, that I need to follow him to the municipal traffic office. I thought (and maybe a little too confident from my previous interactions), that I can sort this out once we are off the road and have a man to man chat. Unfortunately his mood did not improve but rather deteriorate, frantically runningaround his office, looking for other officers and apparent superior, traffic chief Oliphant, who I had not had the pleasure of meeting previously, but who turned out to be the other officer supposed to be in the meeting with Zukelwa at 3pm.
He ordered me to stay inside the building while he was gathering a troop outside; my concern now was not only my conveyance but also Onyx, my ageing canine friend who travelled with me this time.
Back outside the building 4 or 5 officers had surrounded my conveyance, I got some of the relevant documents and citations from their acts, after checking on Onyx, showing and reading it to them. They weren’t interested, the officer on the motorbike, now identified as RTMC agent Davidson got loud and aggressive, the others closing in on me, he informed me that I was now under arrest for fraud, the vehicle impounded and I was to be taken into police custody. He recited the usual RSA information about rights and I tried one more time to reiterate and explain myself, as well as my peaceful cooperation, although by now aware of the dynamics and constellation at the scene.
He proceeded to put me into handcuffs, unnecessarily tight and commanded me to get into the passenger seat of my van. I asked for the handcuffs to be loosened, to which he replied the police will have to deal with it. The others all gleaming and satisfied, having apprehended another free travelling criminal. At the police everyone involved, Davidson, 2 or 3 other RTMC agents and 3 SAPS officers seemed to be acting in the usual erratic, lobotomized and bipolar manner, some switching from friendly to abrasive in seconds, another one telling me about his recent holiday in Malawi, a police woman insisted that I stand and not sit down, but everyone generally in a jovial mood about the rebel fish they just caught and the lesson they were about to teach him. On one of my trips outside into the yard a mixed flock of officers swirled around, someone pointed to officer Oliphant, who then came to approach me, I greeted him, asking what is going on here and why am I being detained when we were supposed to have a friendly meeting in a few hours from now ? He shrugged it off, avoiding eye contact, mumbled something about illegal and breaking the law, that this Republic of Goof Hope doesn’t exist and we Knysna cannot do what we do.
During this time I was negotiating for my dog taken into safety and picked up by friends. At some stage they seemed to be running out of patience, wanting to call the SPCA, telling me I already receive preferential ‘treatment’ and should have been locked up a long time ago. One of the RTMC agents said I seem like a reasonable guy and that I have a love for animals, but also indicated that it was pointless for us to communicate, since he had his views and I had mine, fair enough…. When I asked if he can perceive something in the system not to be quite right, he replied “the system works beautifully”… This went on for ca. 2 hours, in which some officers grew impatient, accusing me to play for time; I had called some friends in the area who obviously could jump into their cars at the drop of a hat.
I was informed that the car was to be booked in and checked by the VIU, so I needed to make sure everything was out of the car, if I didn’t want to ‘lose’ it. I’m travelling in a small van, so the contents amount to a small household.Davidson confirmed that the VIN number showed a previous licence in Limpopo, which is obviously not possible, later he corrected it, and said something about a CA number and Nedbank. Before I finally gottaken to the cells, he also returned my RGH travel card, which was odd, since it’s the very document allegedly used to commit the fraud, think of evidence… My friends came to collect Onyx and my belongings, the SAPS desk officer repeatedly telling me that I was delaying him or his day, although there were no other people detained and he was still on duty hours later. In fact he came to the cell and informed me that he was adding my car key to the list of items taken from me, i.e. cell phone and shoelaces, saying that when I leave tomorrow it’ll all be in one place. To my very surprise, since I thought the car had long been transferred to the impound, it seemed as if my prayer had been heard… I knew that I was probably good to go the next morning after court but wasn’t too sure about my car.
Sometime in the afternoon, another unexpected visit, RTMC agent Qambi, the very friendly uniformed lady who I met upon stopping at the roadblock outside Sedgefield in July 2017, who confiscated my RGH property (plates, disc, card) and was supposed to issue me with a receipt on the scene, the very receipt Payle was asking for some hours prior. I welcomed her into my cell, which by the way, I had all to myself for the duration of my stay, with some relatively new blankets, but no running water and the usual stuffed toilet. She was sorry for my incarceration, but remembered our work, I briefly told her what had happened, she seemed confused, why someone who clearly doesn’t cause any harm needs to be treated like this. Anyhow, she had the receipt for my unlawfully confiscated RGH property, first I thought for today’s incident, but she correct me and said it’s for July 2017. Now I was confused… this was the paper needed to collect my property at a meeting that never took place because I got arrested by the people who withhold my property ??!
Later, in the early evening, Hylton arrived, first he was denied to see or speak to me, but then managed to get through, since we know from experience, it very much depends on the mood of the officers on duty. Hylton for instance got released on the same day/evening, after his own son didn’t let go and they even managed to call the investigating officer back into the station, who is the only one authorized to release a detainee on or without police bail. It turned out this wasn’t a possibility tonight, since no charges had officially been laid and no investigating officer assigned, which is rather unusual, since the afternoon wasn’t exceptionally busy and I got arrested just after noon. It did confirm my theory, that they were just applying intimidation tactics here, or someone did make a phone call or connection to my previous case and extensive engagement and they thought it better to let me go the next day, with or without court, charges or bail.
Hylton spent quite some time there, although I did initially indicate to him not waste too much of it. He started a friendly conversation with officer Jantjies, who was genuinely interested in RGH and our work.
In the years of RGH, I noticed a 1/3 ratio among the people we come in contact with, i.e. 1/3 want to hear more about it, 1/3 is deaf or ignorant and 1/3 are the Davidsons, who vehemently oppose RGH, usually based on the same argument “why must everyone pay (for registration) and not you ?” my answer, just as usual “why should anyone pay, when it could be free of charge for all ?”During the conversation, which I could partly follow from the cells tract, Jantjies made a phone call to traffic chief Oliphant, probably because of her uncertainty or the get some feedback. Here we extracted the first valuable information regarding an alleged order issued 2 years ago : arrest any RGH member, to be charged with fraud and their conveyances impounded. The knowledge about this order emerged for the first time when Josie was apprehended near George 2 years ago. We have since tried to contact Quinton Williams (traffic chief George) to establish how and where this alleged order originated, i.e. was it a concerted effort by a group of officer/officials or the single-handed action of one individual ? Did they follow their own procedure ? Go through their own appropriate channels ? But no-one ever managed to speak to Quinton, nor did he ever return any calls… But tonight we heard that it was no other than Vukile Oliphant himself who issued the order; now we know who to deal with and who needs some more educational information regarding his company’s acts and policies he is so adamantly enforcing.
The next phone call Jantjies made was to some SASP colonel (we will get his name), who outright informed her that RGH was just another AWB (Afrikaaner Resistance Movement), which is another piece of valuable information. Not sure how he arrived at this exact conclusion, maybe some mix up with the recent and botched up secession attempt by SSGH (Sovereign State of Good Hope), which is effectively a group of militant racist patriots who used the khoi/coloured façade to achieve their goals, or some disgruntled RGH member who wasn’t impeccable with his/her speech, or just plain broken telephone; in any case, easy to rectify, looking at all the work RGH and UZA have done for all people, rather on the opposite side of the spectrum than AWB, although RGH and UZA are apolitical and not subject to any left/right wing label.
The next morning I could hear the regular morning routine, breakfast and detainees getting ready for court, but then the outside door to my cell slammed shut, sort of indicating solitary confinement. Things got quieter and after some time an officer checked on me, asking why I am here, I said fraud, to which he replied “but why are you still here?”… perhaps unusual to hold someone for fraud, although the only non-violent crime that warrants immediate arrest and detention. Then another officer appears, I asked him if everyone had already gone to court, and he said yes, to which I replied “but why not me ?” His quick and almost cocky answer “you still fresh, 48 hours…” referring to the 48 hours they got to bring you before a court as per ‘your constitutional rights’, which I only autographed with “under duress and without prejudice”… nevertheless the officer offered to check on the situation.
Even though this seemed like the standard power play I had experienced before, my intuition told me they are waiting for an investigating officer (IO) to report for duty at 9am, who would then come see and release me. And so it was, IO Kleyn came knocking on my door shortly thereafter, telling me to grab my things, i.e. folder with all travel information I kept on me for court and follow him. He again was genuinely interested and intrigued by RGH, very calm, friendly and soft spoken. He still had to take finger prints and get the mug shot. I had enough time to inform him about the basics regarding common law, jurisdictions, the UZA court case, the reason and necessity for RGH, national debt, the banking cartel and owner of SARB, the corporatization of governments and how all of it affects everyone’s life.He also indicated that the fraud charges probably won’t stand, needless to say I did fill him in about Hylton’s case, how fraud charges were dropped, then reinstated simply because Hylton refused the offer to pay. He got me new court date, 6 th December 2018, so I didn’t even have to visit court.
Finally I asked about my car, told him the officer on duty the day before had added the car key to my envelope inside the safe. He said if the car is booked, he cannot release it without proof of ownership, he said the fact that it is unlicenced , thus unroadworthy in their eyes, is not so important. I told him that I am the so-called legal owner as per RSA traffic registration, for which I still got the relevant form/paper, just not on me. Apparently that would suffice to return the car to me (or any other impounded RGH conveyance, most of which are scrapped and de-registered off the eNatis systemanyhow) according to him, if all checks on VIN and engine number had been done. But then he read through Davidson’s statement and there was no mention of the car being subject to the investigation or booked in. Kleyn said “well, then I can’t stop you”, which is rather strange but just highlights how their procedure works, I mean, they both essentially work for the same team, so if they want go after me and be difficult, why can’t Kleyn book the car in ? Well, I’m glad he didn’t and probably isn’t authorized to do so… He left me with his email and will be privy to future communications. I left the Knysna police at10.30am, with RGH travel card, RGH plates and record disc still on my conveyance, so much for fraud…
Later that day it turned out that Davidson is the same officer who initially stopped one of our members along the garden route ca. 2 years ago, which involved 14 SAPS officer s in the end, some rather physical altercation and 5 days in Knysna prison. After dealing with Davidson myself, I’m no longer surprised about the escalation. It’s possible that Davidson thought I was the other member, thus evoking the reaction.
It’s also a possibility, that during the course of my arrest, details of my name and previous court cases emerged, with the subsequent realization that this means trouble rather than victory for them. Which explains why no IO had been assigned, no charges laid and the car not booked. Maybe booking the car is also too much of an administerial nightmare and it was purely about putting me behind bars and spoiling my day, a short lived victory in the bleak day of an RTMC agent, when in fact we gained much more from this incident than them.
I remember telling the SAPS officer on Monday, that we are busy growing RGH, wanting other people to start similar societies, to which he replied “even after this ?” and my standard answer “you think this is going to stop us or encourage us?” with a smile and told him that it is part of my job being arrested and spreading the message of freedom for each and every one of us, including himself…
On 7th November, in preparation of Hylton’s and my court case, I sent an email addressed to Vukile Oliphant and various other agents involved.
On 19th November Hylton made history at the George Municipal Court and achieved the very first not guilty verdict for RGH, thus the much anticipated precedent (see Hylton’s case for more details)
On 6th December I returned to the Knysna Court, just before the proceedings prosecutor Pumlani, who still remembered me from last year, greeted me and said he saw my name on the docket,this time for alleged fraud (previously traffic code violation), then showed him a copy of the judgment in Hylton’s case, according to which RGH is not committing fraud nor contravening the NRTA, he glanced at it, recognized section S174 (as per criminal procedure act) and walked into the court room. 90minutes later he emerged and informed me the matter did not enroll and I can go home. This was the proof and confirmation we needed, i.e. RGH members might still get arrested, charged and have to visit a court at least once (or forward above information to the senior prosecutor at the relevant court), but don’t have to engage any further.
Unfortunately Pumlani could not assist with regards to the unlawful order issued by Oliphant to arrest any RGH members and charge them with fraud. The court was also unable to confirm in writing that my matter did not enroll, the control prosecutor Johan Engelbrecht was out of the office, I’d have to return the next day.
After court I visited the RTMC office in Knysna again, now with a receipt of previously confiscated RGH property (as per RSA statutes), a court order/precedent and another matter not enrolled based on the precedent . At the counter was traffic chief Vukile Oliphant, this time a little more friendly and approachable than during the day of my arrest,when he just ignored me. I produced all of the above documents and asked if they could now finally restore my private property. He refused, now informing me that the recent information and data regarding the precedent case still had to enter the system, apparently via control prosecutor van der Vyver in CapeTown. We each recorded the next 15 minutes of conversation during which I asked whether if he issued the order to arrest RGH members, but he declined to answer.He did ask how much longer I was going to be in the area and indicated he’d contact van der Vyver to possibly speed up the process. Then he had to rush to another meeting.
On 7th December I went back to court, seeking Johan Engelbrecht to endorse my SAPS summons, informing him about my court visit the day before and Pumlani’s decision not to enroll the matter based on our precedent, presenting Johan a copy at the same time. He was about to suggest that he would still proceed, now charging me according to traffic code violation again, since the fraud charged did not hold any water,but then realized that the verdict in Hylton’s case was at the municipal and traffic court itself, which deals with nothing but NRTA violations.
It took another 20 minutes to issue me a confirmation regarding my case, since Pumlani was out of court today, his room locked, the court book not accessible and some possible mix up in case numbers. But similar to Oliphant, he was in a much better mood this time, but unable to confirm what Oliphant had told me with regards to van der Vyver having to enter any data into the system in Cape Town.
Next visit, RTMC again, maybe Oliphant did achieve anything, now also in possession of written proof of my matter not enrolling. Other known officers greeted me, Oliphant was rushing around in the background but not ready for communication it seemed. Then Moffat Zukelwa stepped in, the friendly deputy traffic chief, he informed me that there was no feedback from Cape Town, as well as the RTMC’s reluctance to return my RGH property, apparently I require something in writing from the court, instructing them to restore my property. I told him that magistrate Thafeni already did so, on the record on 15th December 2017, when I asked her about said property and she motioned officer Payle “to sort it out”. Anyhow it seems as if the RTMC is clinging onto RGH property like some rare trophy similar to the sword of Excalibur. Moffat and I had another 20 minute long peaceful conversation exchanging our different points of view, as well as leaving him more information regarding the corporate state of the state. At the end he offered to organize a meeting in January, comprising of people from the NPA, SAPS, court officials and traffic police, giving us the opportunity to speak to a larger group and them to comprehend what we do and why.
During our conversation he did ask whether RGH was a predominantly white association and how many members we have got. I told him our currently multi-racial and faceted 800 members and ca. 200 recorded conveyances can’t possibly be a serious threat to them, in fact if any group has put aside its racial issues, it’s RGH, where we all work together to reaffirm the freedom of all people, again suggesting a default where no-one should be paying registration or licence fees, instead of everyone, which can only work once RSA returns to a genuine commonwealth and revokes all contracts with its European masters, a process peace officers, as per original mandate and oath, could assist, if it wasn’t for the fear of losing their jobs.
To be continued,
Jan a people of Good Hope