Probably the friendliest traffic cops in the world… - Sense Africa
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Probably the friendliest traffic cops in the world…4th May '16  |  - 8 Comments

The traffic policeman, in an unusually bright jacket stood in the road with his hand help up high, saluting the sky, I groaned inwardly as I knew I had been caught speeding. It is far too easy to exceed the speed limit in Swaziland, long open stretches of road, as far as the eye can see, with a speed limit of 60km/hr or 37mph, it is really really hard to stay on the right side of the law.

I pulled over to the side of the road along with someone in the car behind me, we had both been caught. I resolutely got out of the car and went over the cop who had stopped me and he motioned me to his colleague on the speed camera.

“Here you are madam, speeding at 86km/hr,” he said as he pointed me out on the screen. “It is 60 km/hr here.” I didn’t really need to see myself speeding, it was like rubbing salt into the wound.

“Sorry,” I mumbled.

“And here you are speeding sir, at 87km/hr”, he said to the gentleman behind me. “You were both speeding.” We had the sense to look contrite.

“You were both going toooo fast,” he said in typical laid back Swazi style. A small smile crept onto his face as if he was admonishing school children, “do not do it again. You need to pay a fine, see the lady in the car.” By now a grin was creeping through his face, it was not out of malice, purely out of sheer friendliness, with a hint of cheekiness mixed in.

I then joined the queue for paying the fine from the lady cop in the car, there were quite a few of us. I was still not too sure how this was all going to pan out. Every one seemed so officious to begin with but looked as if they were going to break into a guffouring laugh at any point.

“Licence please. Ehhaayy, what are you doing in Swaziland?” she asked noticing my British licence.

“I am a tourist, meeting a friend in Nhlangano.”

“And tell me, how are you enjoying Swaziland?” She looked at me expectantly.

“I love Swaziland, it is beautiful. A great place to visit.” I was glad that I could be really honest about this statement. Swaziland is a wonderful Kingdom, there is a real charm about it.

“And how do you find the people,” she asked as she copied my name meticulously onto the speeding ticket.

“Really, really friendly, nothing like South Africa,” I replied.

She beamed a smile at me. “And how do you find the Swazi traffic police?” she enquired.

“Just as friendly as the whole of Swaziland,” I honestly replied. And this was true. She now had a massive smile on her face as she wrote out my E60 fine (£3) in the appropriate box. Again, her smile was not because she was getting money out of me, it was the fact that I loved the Kingdom of Swaziland, it is not a tall order as it is pretty easy to do! The people are so genuine and happy with life.

I handed over my E60 and received my speeding ticket thanking my lucky stars that it would not mean any points on my UK licence.

“Hambanikahle” I said to all the police as I scurried to my car, it means ‘stay well’.

“OOOhhh, Salekahle,” they all chorused. “You know siSwati,” they exclaimed. We were all smiling now.

“Try not to go fast madam, eet is not gud”.

As I drove away I could see the camera man in my rearview mirror waving goodbye to me.

On my back along the same stretch of road I made a conscious decision not to speed, well at the points where I remembered where the friendly cops were.  But they had all gone home.  I could not return the favour and wave at them as I passed by, within the speed limit of course, and also feeling rather smug about life.

Swazi traffic police,  probably the friendliest traffic cops in the world…

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Responses

  1. lena welch says:

    May 4th, 2016 at 10:15 pm (#)

    Brilliant post Jenny loved reading it 🙂 its all so true such a friendly and amazing kingdom which I am glad to have experienced thanks to you and traveleyes. X Lena

  2. Stones says:

    May 5th, 2016 at 2:42 pm (#)

    That’s so nice to here. It’s true with Swaziland. The laid back atmosphere, the tranquillity and friendly people. It’s a place to be when you’re looking for good quiet relaxed place.

  3. Sheena says:

    May 8th, 2016 at 5:51 pm (#)

    We were home in February and yes I couldn’t agree more

  4. John says:

    May 11th, 2016 at 11:24 am (#)

    Hi Jenny

    Thanks for the blog.
    Nicked for speeding, well there’s one thing for sure, you wouldn’t want to try it in Gambia, because your car would probably fall to bits with all hazards on their “roads”.
    I don’t believe you would have points put on your licence as you were not a local and all the paperwork involved is not a policeman’s lot. Rather like over here, when so many speeding continental drivers are ignored by police.
    Now if you had run down a reasonable size wild animal in Swazi, then maybe things might be different.

  5. terry says:

    May 11th, 2016 at 3:13 pm (#)

    Booked for speeding! CLTC will not be pleased to know they have a fast woman on their books. Go steady. x

  6. Pete says:

    May 11th, 2016 at 9:39 pm (#)

    I’m not that taken, Jen. I reckon you should have done better.. especially as a sweet-talking British visitor. My last two, after polite chat over several minutes were a drop from E80 to E20 for worn tyres, and a week later, a total let-off for speeding when I politely asked the lady to see the camera film. My vehicle wasn’t even filmed!! Shake up your charm – you have plenty. Pete the stone thrower!

  7. Tetiyaa Mamba says:

    June 17th, 2016 at 12:22 pm (#)

    Swazi ppl are very polite.I also got a speeding one on the Lugaganeni Manzini road but was so glad no points on my British licence phew!!

  8. frank brown says:

    July 21st, 2016 at 10:20 am (#)

    I had a similar experience in Swaziland 6 years ago, but was the only car stopped – other speeders had Swazi plates , not South African!!
    When they heard an English accent, fines were not mentioned, just ‘enjoy your time here, but go a bit slower’!!

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