How do Justice Project South Africa fight for the South African road user?

During the past year we have often shared advice and commentary from Justice Project South Africa [JPSA]. But who is JPSA and how can they assist the South African Road users with both road safety and rooting out corruption?

We would like to share this in the format of answers to questions and comments from a member of the public:

I would like to mention that the name of your organization sounds upstanding and defending those being mishandled in terms of injustice in South Africa. I am not sure if I understand your objective in terms of addressing injustice in South Africa. Are you guys only in transport injustices or are you everywhere?

The initial objective of forming this organisation was to tackle power abuses perpetrated by law enforcement officials.  There are many injustices that are perpetrated by law enforcement officials, including but not limited to enacting punishment prior to trial on persons accused of wrongdoing.  This has evolved since 2008 when the organisation was formed, due to the fact that traffic authorities are amongst the most abusive and there are serious deficiencies in addressing such matters.  Whilst the SAPS are overseen by the ICD, traffic authorities have their own internal affairs departments that are seriously biased in favour of their members.

There is a saying, “if you are going to do something, do it well or don’t do it” and whilst we would like to one day be a “Jack of all trades and master of all”, we need to be realistic and cut our suit according to our cloth.

Why should one join your organization….?

It is very difficult to amply get across the reasons that we believe one should join our organisation apart from the facts that:

  1. It was established to fight power abuse and corruption.
  2. It is the one of the very few outside organisation that has ever worked with police on anti-corruption exercises.
  3. It is the only organisation that truly represents the rights of all motorists – regardless of whether they are members or not – and is prepared to get into fights where injustice and illegitimate or illegal actions are engaged in by authorities and/or government.
  4. There is always strength in numbers – but let me hasten to clarify this in light of your next question.

…and why are we paying to fight injustice while those inflicting injustice are not paying anything?

As much as I would hate to dash any idealistic view held by anyone on what a democracy is supposed to be about, and I fully understand the irony of democracy versus abuse, I have to tell you that the viewpoint that those inflicting abuse would even consider paying to have themselves monitored and prevented from doing so is contradictory.  Yes, there are section 9 organisations that do indeed receive funding, but there are severe deficiencies in most of those organisations which, despite being funded, are under-resourced, just like us.

To give you an idea just how severe this problem is, we lodged a formal complaint against the JMPD, RTMC and RTIA with the Public Protector on 16 June 2011.  To date absolutely no result has been forthcoming, despite the fact that we furnished all of the information to allow the matter to be addressed very quickly.  Additionally, in 2010, we put a proposal to the JMPD to assist them free of charge in tackling corruption as we felt sure that we could get sponsors on board.  The net result of that was Chief Chris Ngcobo sitting on TV and publicly stating “they are not right in the head” and “It’s sour grapes because they didn’t get a tender from us” after I laid criminal charges of fraud against him and his friends in the JMPD for provable fraud committed in 2009.

I can understand donations but not paying to fight injustice. I believe that each and every one of us here should be a member of any organization fighting injustice by choice not by payment.

Let’s deal with donations shall we? JPSA has received a whole R3,900 per month in regular donations since October 2009.  Prior to that, it received about R1,500 per month.  We have also received a donation of a TomTom GPS navigation system in 2010 and a handheld breathalyser in 2011.  Apart from that, despite numerous pleas for donations, etc., we receive nothing significant in the way of donations.

Some people we have assisted in the past have made small donations – mostly of R50 at a time, and many thousand, if not more have been assisted and made absolutely no donation – except to say “thank you” and “keep up the good work”.  Very easy things to say, but not so easy to achieve, I assure you.

There is something called “donor fatigue” that has unfortunately become a very real thing in our country.  Businesses and individuals have only so much that they can donate to worthy causes and equally unfortunately, philanthropists are outnumbered by greedy and/or selfish people and organisations by huge margins.  Most of the “worthy cause” organisations in our country are battling and are all competing for an ever-diminishing slice of the donations cake.  I cite here organisations like South Africans Against Drunk Driving (SADD), who do rely on donations and are in financial dire straits just like us, despite the fact that the drink-driving problem in South Africa is in such clear focus.  They have solutions for government too but like us, they get ignored and “starved to death”.  The same goes for ArriveAlive.co.za, with the only exception being that Advocate Johan  Jonck has been quite successful in getting sponsors.

It is your choice to become an “honorary member” of JPSA, which has no monthly or annual payment attached to it.  It does have a “joining fee” of R50, which is I suspect what lead to the subject line of your email and if you think this is unfair then I suppose we could consider waiving or disposing of it entirely.  I would have to run that by my fellow directors and our National Council who oversee any decisions such as this.

But I would hasten to add that membership of most organisations etc. usually have some form of subscription dues attached to them.  Additionally, anyone wishing to get intimately involved in doing the actual fighting would be exempted from any fees, but it has been my experience that very few people are prepared to get involved on a basis where they are personally doing anything.

There is a general tendency in South Africa to not be seen as disagreeing with authority of any kind and very few people dare say that they actively support our organisation.  On this point, there are many, many people who hold very high ranks in law enforcement agencies who do passively support JPSA and me, but they dare not speak up or they will lose their jobs and face very serious repercussions.  I and my fellow directors will never betray their confidence but it is good to know that these people are dedicated to doing the right thing.

I also would like to warn that where there is some involvement of money there is always some corrupt elements within.

I can assure you that there are very few people who can tell me much about corruption given the fact that I have fought it since I was a very young man.  No organisation is exempt from attempts at corruption and JPSA is no exception.  In fact, one such attempt was made last year in a veiled verbal “business proposal”.  We declined it and would have taken further action should we have been able to prove that it was what it was, but since it had the potential to turn corrupt, we walked away from it.

I personally hate corruption with every single molecule of my body, mind and soul and being an ex-policeman, who was taught what responsibilities went with my powers, I hate people who abuse others because they think that they have the power to do so.  Being the chairman of this organisation and one of its directors, I can and will crush any corrupt individual who ever tries it on with JPSA.  My fellow directors and council members know exactly what I am like and share my passion and willingness to do whatever it takes to keep corruption out of our organisation.  I am also sure that they would be only too happy to tell you what this has done to me in my personal capacity to answer your question of benevolence and patriotism, but I am not in the habit of discussing my woes and personal sacrifices with others.

There is a specific reason why JPSA was registered as a non-profit company and amongst those reasons is the will to prevent it from ever becoming an organisation that enriches any of its directors or stake (not share) holders.  Many who have seen the “business opportunities” that could result from what we do have given up and walked away in disgust when we have pointed out this fact.

I am interested in the organization but I have a few questions:

  1. 1. What about the corruption happening at traffic departments all over South Africa? Are you guys doing something about it?
    1. We do what we can and are actively involved in tackling corruption in these departments.  It is at the very core of our existence to do so.
    2. We have engaged with the JMPD, the EMPD, the TMPD, The Western Cape Provincial authorities, etc.
    3. I personally and in my capacity as chairperson of JPSA currently have two open and active criminal dockets for:
      1. i.      Corruption and violation of the National Road Traffic Act against Deputy Chief Ndumiso Jaca of the TMPD.
      2. ii.      Fraud and Corruption against Chief Chris Ngcobo, Director Gerrie Gerneke of the JMPD, as well as several other suspects in other organisations.
    4. I have reported and acted on several other cases of corruption in Traffic and Licensing Departments and have worked with SAPS officials on some of these cases.
    5. I have previously eluded in this response to the matter before the Public Protector and that matter is also one of corrupt activities as there is money – actually, over a billion Rand involved.
    6. We run the site at www.aarto.co.za and have done so since 2009 where we provide information, forms and resources at no charge to the public.  Had it not have been for this site, no-one affected by an AARTO fine would have been able to acquire any forms for AARTO processes for several months, no-one would know what AARTO is really all about and no-one would be any the wiser that the JMPD has been breaking the law since 1 June 2010 with respect to service of AARTO infringement notices.
  2. 2. What about the unfairness and ill treatment of officials to those individuals who not want to subscribe to injustices or corrupt behaviors in terms of paying officers and officials?
    1. That is exactly why JPSA “Priority Assist” has been instituted.
    2. For 3 years, I personally acted for free for people who got abused in things such as roadblocks.
    3. We (and in particular I) have given tens of millions of Rands worth of advice and assistance to victims in the past 3 ½ years.
    4. We try really hard to get the message out that corruption is a two way street and that both the corruptor and the corrupted are equally guilty of the crime.
    5. But let’s get one thing straight here. One cannot simply engage in corruption entrapment operations without the necessary NPA approval, cooperation from various parties and resources to do so.  Hence our proposal to the JMPD and their subsequent ridicule and kick in our teeth from Chris Ngcobo.
    6. People who have come to us to tackle specific cases have always been helped, but in a space of 3 years, THREE people have been prepared to go the distance by providing affidavits and testifying in hearings and court.  That should tell you something about how scared people are of these monsters, but it should also tell you something about the willingness of our fellow citizens to do anything affirmative to tackle corruption.
    7. There is much more to tackling corruption than most people think and in addition, most people think that simply talking about corruption, it will somehow miraculously make it diminish or disappear.  It will not and until the ethos of our fellow South Africans changes and cuts off the supply, the demand for corruption will continue to flourish and grow.  Remember always that a person’s readiness to engage in corrupt activities is governed by the perceived advantage of doing so and/or the perceived consequences of not doing so.
  3. 3. Do you only take views and ideas of your members only or you take any report of injustice and give it a fair hearing?
    1. We are not a court, but decisions we make are based on facts and legislation – not emotion.
    2. The word “justice” means in essence – fairness and that is all that we are interested in.
      1. Our decisions are furthermore in direct conflict with those taken by attorneys in that we are not here to defend people – no matter what, we are here to protect people from abuse. Regardless of what any person has or has not done, they have the absolute right not to be abused, however we are not here to get guilty people off the hook.
      2. We listen to and act on all reports and have acted on more reports by non- members than those pertaining to members.  But your question is a sworded one as we are desperately trying to change the way in which we work so as to provide our members with a service and, accordingly change our own dismal financial state.
        1. i.      If you phone the AA to ask them for advice, they will ask you if you are a member and probably won’t help you if you are not.
        2. ii.      If you phone a workers’ Union and ask them to assist you in a labour matter, they will ask you if you are a member and probably won’t help you if you are not.
        3. iii.      JPSA would like to be able to do the same, but it mostly does not and that is exactly why those other organisations are rich and we are not.  There is a huge conflict between the ethos of JPSA and the financial realities we face and as we get better known, so the volume of pleas for assistance increases.  We can do so much and no more.
        4. iv.      We have even gone so far as to ask attorneys, such as our director, Anton Burger to act on a pro-bono basis for some people and in each and every one of those cases, the recipients thereof were non-members.
  4. 4. Are the directors of this organization being paid to do their work or are they doing all this in the name of patriotic fight against injustice?
    1. I have partially answered your question in the main body, but to answer it thoroughly, no, none of the Directors of this organisation so much as takes a “director’s fee”.
    2. I am the only director in this organisation that has had any of his expenses paid.
    3. What I get from JPSA covers some of my expenses but it certainly does not cover all of them, nor does it constitute a salary or director’s fee.

I think this is a great organization and it needs to grow strong in assisting our government to govern with justice to all humans in South Africa.

I am glad to hear that and all I can say is – “from your mouth to God’s ears!”

We are not anti-government and would be truly honoured and delighted if it would accept some of the assistance we have offered over the years instead of continuing to shun us, kick us in the teeth and wait for lack of funding to completely dismantle everything that we are trying to achieve for the betterment of our country and its citizens.

Last but not least, can I kindly have the email contacts of the directors of the organization.

I have copied this email to all of our directors and Caro Smit of SADD as well as Johan Jonck or ArriveAlive.co.za; and have blind copied it to our National Council members as well.  I would also, with your permission, like to publish your email and my response on our website in the hope that it may be of benefit to other people who may have similar questions and for some reason not wish to ask them.  I am also pretty sure that I am speaking not only for myself and on behalf of JPSA, but speak on behalf of all of our directors and council members too.

Lastly, I am pretty sure that if one scratches deep and hard enough, one can dig up dirt on any person or organisation.  However, as arrogant as it may sound, the same is not true about JPSA and/or me and this organisation and my life is an open book. We have no skeletons in any closets to hide and that makes me feel good – given that pride is in fact not a good thing, but a “deadly sin” so I can’t use that word.

Best Regards,

Howard Dembovsky

National Chairman – Justice Project South Africa (NPC)

Association Not For Gain  |  Incorporated as a non-profit company under the Companies Act, 2008  | Registration Number 2010/019972/08

Website: www.jp-sa.org
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“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” – Martin Luther King
“All that is required for the triumph of evil is that good men and women do nothing” – Edmund Burke
JPSA Head Office: Ground Floor, 500 Kyalami Boulevard, Kyalami Office Park, Kyalami, Midrand, 1684

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