Imagine waking up with your partner of 53 years; going to the licencing department for a licence renewal and never again go back home together.
Sophiatown resident Hendrick Roos lost his wife Anna recently when a visit to the Florida Licencing Department turned into his worst nightmare.
“As we parked, four guys approached me. One of them asked me if I wanted to renew my driving licence, to which I replied yes. He then said if I give him money he would get someone he knows at the office to do it for me quickly,” said Hendrick.
Dreading the tedious licence renewal experience usually coupled with long waits, Hendrick paid the man R300 to “jump the queue”.
According to Hendrick, the man took the money, went into the Licencing Department and returned to Hendrick’s vehicle after a few moments.
“He said there was a R350 traffic fine on my licence and he wanted that money. He started getting cross with me when I questioned this as I don’t know of any fines. I told him I would go find out myself and then he went on the phone and then said to me there was a mix-up it was not my licence with the fines,” he retold.
Hendrick added that the man then asked him to go into the office with him.
“He said my wife must get into the car and lock it and one of his friends would look after her. This didn’t sound right to me or my wife so I said she must come with me.”
Hendrick said he began walking toward the Licencing Department office and his wife followed a short distance behind him.
“I didn’t walk three steps when I heard my wife scream. I turned around and I saw her lying on the ground.”
I saw the man who had robbed her of her gold necklace… he tried to take her handbag, running away. The man I was walking with to the office said he is running after the thief but he ran away with him.”
Hendrick stayed with his wife who informed him she could not move. He took her to Helen Joseph Hospital.
“She stayed at the hospital for two weeks. Both her hips were broken. When the doctors wanted to operate, they could not because her heart was beating too fast from the shock as an old person. Her liver and kidneys started failing and she died.”
According to Marcia Joubert, cousin to Anna, this is not a rare occurrence at this traffic department.
“I was once there a few years back and they asked to help me the same way. We need to warn people to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” she said.
According to JMPD spokesperson Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar, touts are a problem at various places.
“When people go to a testing station they must not give money, ID, licence or photographs to anyone outside the walls of the station,” he said.
He added that all incidents must be reported to the nearest SAPS station.
“The street is public territory,” he concluded.
Have you had a bad experience with touts at an SA licencing department?