Pigspotter cartoon

Pigspotter cartoon

PigSpotter and the Purpose of Government

Wonkie debated for some time whether to title this article In defence of Pigspotter or the Purpose of Government. Wonkie opted for the latter in the end as the PigSpotter saga is one of many manifestations of a poor definition around a key role of government in any country: to serve for the good of the people. Also, Wonkie doesn’t believe PigSpotter should be defended on all counts.

For those of you in South Africa and abroad that have not heard the name PigSpotter before, here is some brief background. PigSpotter is the owner of a twitter account (yes, that microblogging social network thing again… the one that Julius Malema threatened to shut down because of the impersonating profiles doing naughty things all over the internet using his good name). PigSpotter is quite a popular twitterer and has close to 32,000 followers. PIG, by happy coincidence stands for Police in Gauteng in case you thought it was simply a derogatory term for police officer as it is in the USA and other countries. Now Pigspotter has undertaken to provide the useful public service of updating followers with traffic updates. These include accident information, traffic disruptions, and … speed trap locations. No doubt there would not have been too much concern around the former two but speed trap locations – that received a fair chunk of attention from the authorities.

The authorities are fuming because PigSpotter is apparently obstructing or defeating the ends of justice. And therein lies the argument that Wonkie would like to propose. The deeper purpose of government through the laws they enact with respect to this issue is to protect the public from harm. The intention of the laws – which manifest as speed limits – serve as a rule to help prevent accidents and reckless endangerment. What was not the intention behind the law, one would hope, is that the speed limits be used as a source of generating revenue.

In that light, what sense does it make for traffic police to be sitting at the bottom of a hill which hasn’t had an accident in years, hiding behind some bushes with a speed camera? If the fundamental goal is to protect the public from harm, they should place cameras in high accident zones and take over the job of PigSpotter themselves. The state itself should be broadcasting the location of the speed traps to increase awareness of drivers to ensure that they slow down. And if drivers are still stupid enough to speed in that area they deserve to pay for it – and significantly more dearly than they currently do.

“It’s not all pigs that are rotten, only the sneaky ones that hide in the bushes eating fried chicken and waiting to catch you ‘in the act’… then bully you into ‘donating towards their next cold drink'” .. says Pigspotter’s self-proclaimed wingman, Al.

The decision as to how to implement and uphold the intention behind laws lies necessarily with government. The PigSpotter issue regarding the speedtraps in Gauteng for Wonkie is one of form over substance. The argument being that Pigspotter is actually promoting safety by alerting drivers to drive slowly. If the police simply sit in accident prone areas, people will benefit – even if the state coffers don’t.

The issue of PigSpotter informing the public of roadblocks however is a different matter altogether. Certainly it is an inconvenience to the public – Wonkie accepts that. But the purpose of government is also to enforce the law when people break it. If they cannot enforce the rules through penalties, there is really no point in having the rules in the first place. Further, the element of surprise is necessary to catch offenders – and we’re not just talking about speeding fines here. There are plenty of other more serious criminals that can be and likely are picked up by these police interventions. To that end, PigSpotter is doing a disservice to the public, especially given the high rate of crime in South Africa.

This is just one aspect in which the purpose of government and the laws that are in force are acted upon without adequate regard for the intention behind them. Another big example of where this has gone even more horribly wrong is the BBBEE act a.k.a. affirmative action, but that is a subject for another day.

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  1. do not forget Snowball and boxer…what happenned to the freedom charter,are we becoming dictators?

  2. Reminds me of the very recent Wikileaks scandal. Methinks they doth protest too much!

  3. I understood that Pigspotter was no longer advising roadblock localities

  4. I tend to think I now know pigspotter and that he was associated with the apartheid TV AND AT SOME STAGE MADE UNSAVIOURY COMMENTS ON AIR ABOUT BLACK WOMEN AN D WAS FINED R10000 BY THE DEFUNCT udf and later lost his wife to a former cleric activist.

    nonetheless that`s not the issue here but as to if we are for or against pigspotter!Well i`m all for since the points he raised are valid and have beden campaigning for the charges against hi be dropped unless the plaintiff can successfully oppose them.Yes,these gangs we`re told its cops remove the back registration plates to force bribes from motorists or sex if its a female.

    Yes,its true that they stop motorists for bribes and not felony since they never check the body or engine of the vehicle but rush to the wi ndow of the driver and then let him go .what is needed is to fight fire-with-fire like roux bees to end this terror!

  5. Looooooooong liiiiiiiive PIGspotter, you are actually doing a blow to this PIG’s bribery money, since you launched I haven’t paid a bribe yet. because I am lucky enough to know where this PIGS are. PIG are a menace to road users. they are reall pigs.


  7. The Meatman says

    20 years ago, traffic fines were not budgetted for but merely an incidental source of Income. Speed trapping has become a budgetted and pursued source of income. What has become of the adeage ” We serve and we protect”. Speed in the hands of unlicensed and unroadworthy vehicles kills. Not just speed……

  8. Pigspotter is doing Proactive Police work where as the Policing departments are doing re-active policing which does not appear in there job discription.If they do not stop you at a speed trap/Camera trap,they are giving you permission to travel fast and as Wonkie,says,if there is no warning of a speed trap ahead,the trap in my opinion becomes illegal,if i remember correctly, a speed trap warning has to be erected 300 meters before the trap position as they do with normal speed regulation on speed limit roads,ie a speed trap 300 meters from such a warning,not under the sighn or 320 meters beyond such warning sighn.

  9. I think PigSpotter should be respected,since he is doing proactive policing, since he serves the public as a whole. He even warns the active police out there of any crime hotspots and if they are willing to work with him, crime activity could be diminshed.

  10. give that man [pigspotter] a Bells!

  11. On a recent and extended trip through Southern Europe I noticed that speed traps were very well advertised and violations were shown on your GPS. A friend in Italy says that in the EU the purpose of speed traps and the informing of motorists was intended to encourage safe driving and save lives, not raise revenue.

  12. noo,but let us be fair here and give them 50/50 becahjuse you have 80%of motorists out there who are the culprits and who are the ones who are moaning about traps so that these can be outlawed and they can violate road ordinances with impunity.

    In the past we were a close-knit family and not rascals where we respected those who know us by behaving ourselves well but today where all values have been discarded and mania and lunacy rules its a different kettle-of-fish altogether!


  13. For God’s sake we can’t crucify all the PIGS for the dirty monkey business done by a very minimal bunch. The system is good, rather excellent. Police are human, only trained, passionate, and dedicated human beings. Men of blood and flesh, they are neither bullet proof, nor are they immune to temptations. Big up Pigs! ! !

  14. Hi yes the government of the day is there to pursacute and fine and put in jail innosant people and force people to pay and do things that they force not enforce onto the public,they have 5000 policemen whom want to go back into the police force from old government mostly white but they do not employe them for corruption will not be tollerated,they need to take as mutch money from the people of this country to pay for the uncontrolled fruad and bankrupt municapalitys

  15. How on earth can “Pigspotter” be criminal when he as a citizen is doing his utmost to prevent a crime.

  16. Marianne Carter says

    I think PigSpotter should be respected,since he is doing proactive policing, since he serves the public as a whole. He even warns the active police out there of any crime hotspots and if they are willing to work with him, crime activity could be diminshed.

  17. Give him the job as commissioner of the SAPolice. He doe`s not need any police training,just common sense and a sense of responsibility.

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