In the jungle, two categories of animal exist. Prey, in the form of the weak that are unable to defend themselves and the predators that prey on them. Two of the most efficient predators are the Lion, which is the majestic king of the jungle and known for its regal strength and the Hyena, which is known for its ruthless cunningness and scavenger tactics. Lions are scared of nothing and there is only one animal that a hyena is weary (or downright scared) of and that is the lion.
In the concrete jungle, things are no different and predatory, corrupt and downright abusive law enforcement officials can be likened to Hyenas. Up until now, the Lion has been "sleeping" but now it has awoken - and that Lion comes in the form of JPSA Priority Assist.
JPSA's Priority Assist is a world first (as far as we are aware) 24/7/365 motorists' assistance call centre and response service for people who get stopped by traffic (or regular) police for any reason whatsoever and feel threatened.
It is somewhat sad that there should even be a need for such a service, but the reality is that it is sorely necessary in South Africa these days.
Staffed by highly professional and qualified personnel, our service is available to any member of JPSA who holds a valid driving licence and subscribes to our service.
The service is not designed to interfere in any way with legitimate law enforcement, but is designed to actively and effectively deal with issues of corruption and abuse and give motorists the peace of mind in knowing that they are no longer alone when they become the target of a traffic stop.
Being stopped by traffic police in a roadblock can be a pretty terrifying experience, especially when it is claimed that you have outstanding traffic fines and/or warrants. The second that you get told to pay up or face arrest, the terror really sets in.
Being stopped for an alleged traffic offence can be equally, if not more terrifying and stories of abuse and harsh treatment are not hard to find.
“Is this really happening? What am I going to do? Can they really arrest me? Who am I going to call? Can anyone even help me? ”
You have a few choices - pay the fines (if you can), try to talk your way out of it, argue with them, just cave in or commit a serious crime by paying a bribe.
Then your worst fears come true and you are arrested, thrown in the back of a van and taken to a police station where you are locked up with all sorts of unsavoury characters and become totally helpless. No-one wants to listen to you and in their eyes, you are just another criminal and you remain in custody for hours (or days) on end.
This is a reality faced by uncountable South African motorists on a daily basis and when it happens to you or your loved one, the effects can be far-reaching and very difficult to deal with or even comprehend. Thinking that it can’t happen to you is tantamount to living in a dream world.
Let’s face it, up until now every motorist on the road has been fair game for traffic cops when they get stopped for any reason, but most of all when they get stopped in a roadblock.
Despite the fact that there is no provision in the law for motorists to be forced to pay fines at the roadside, many traffic authorities make use of elaborate set-ups which include payment facilities and holding cells in vehicles at the roadside and employ extortion-like tactics which can only be likened to mafia-like methods to intimidate motorists into paying up.
Although no-one is exempt from abuse, certain individuals are particularly vulnerable to it and these include persons under the age of 30 years, females traveling on their own, senior citizens and proxies of company vehicles. Parents of young drivers often worry themselves sick when their youngsters go out at night or on weekends, not because of the risk of hijacking or crashing, but because of the risk of police harassment.
Whilst warrants of arrest do exist under the Criminal Procedure Act, they have to be executed in a specific manner and traffic authorities often ignore the procedures that have been laid down by law on how to execute them. AARTO makes no provision for warrants of arrest, but this does not stop traffic authorities from threatening motorists with arrest if they do not pay up there and then when they are stopped in roadblocks.
Traffic stops, whether they are executed by traffic authorities or SAPS often go awry with threats of, or indeed actual arrests and even physical abuse taking place; despite the fact that no provision exists under legislation for arrest for the infringement that has been committed in the first place.
Then there is the very real risk of the “blue light gangs” which prowl the streets looking for victims to rob and abuse. If one stops for an unmarked vehicle with blue flashing lights, the risk exists that it may be occupied by criminals. If one does not stop for it and it is occupied by genuine police, then all sorts of things can happen, including them shooting at you, or beating you up when you drive to a police station as has been suggested by the SAPS.
Recognizing the challenges that motorists face on a daily basis, JPSA has established its Priority Assist service offering motorists the protection that they truly need when they are faced with any of these situations wherein access to a 24/7/365 call-centre, staffed with individuals who know what to do in these situations is provided.
But our solution and service offerings are far wider-reaching than just providing access to advice; they also include on-site assistance if the situation cannot be resolved on the phone and should you be arrested, we can dispatch an attorney to a police station to make bail application as quickly as possible to minimize your stay in cells.
FACT: Our track record over the past 3 years has already proven that JPSA has the rock-solid ability to provide these services and to date no other organisation has shown that it can offer anything like what we are offering.
Our Priority Assist service has been designed to be affordable to anyone who has a driving licence and includes full membership to JPSA. The monthly subscription fee is only R25 per month per JPSA member, payable by monthly debit order or by EFT annually in advance.
There is no minimum contract term and our contract itself is written in plain English and is very easy to understand.
- Because our subscription fees are so low, the subscription covers one individual in a group membership.
- You will be provided with the telephone number for our call centre and will be able to call at any time that you are in need of assistance.
- Should you call the call centre, our staff will deal with the situation there and then on the call.
- In serious cases, should a satisfactory outcome not result from talking on the phone, then we will where necessary dispatch a response unit to the site at which you have a problem to deal with the situation.
- Should you be arrested for any reason, we will dispatch an attorney to the police station to which you are taken to make application for bail.
- The typical charge levied by attorneys for bail applications usually vary between R2,500 and R4,500 but our fee will be R500 which will be billed to the main member.
- We will not however pay your bail for you. That will be for your family/friends/colleagues to do and we will contact them to come to pay your bail for you.
- When you join we will provide you all of the relevant information that you will need in order to use our service should it become necessary for you to do so.
We recognise that when you need help, you want it to be fast, but any thinking person will know that if someone were to say that they could guarantee that they will get to you in a guaranteed timeframe, they would not be telling you anything even closely resembling the truth.
Don't take us wrong, we most certainly are not making excuses up front, but the reality of the matter is that we cannot guarantee a response within a few minutes and we must be honest with you.
However, this does not mean that we are going to take our time in getting to you and because there are certain "hot spots", we strategically base our vehicles close to these areas, so as to minimise any delays in getting help to you as quickly as possible.
Please note that physical response services are initially only being made available in the operational areas of the JMPD, EMPD and TMPD - in other words, Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Pretoria. As our subscriber base grows, as we know it will and it becomes financially viable to do so, we will roll the service out to all parts of the country.
Subscribers outside the initial response rollout area will still have access to the call centre and will be informed as soon as response becomes available in their area.
How to get Priority Assist for yourself and your family members or work colleagues
Subscribing to JPSA Priority Assist is really simple and you can do it right now and be covered immediately when you sign up.
All you need right now is the following:
- Your ID (or passport) number.
- Your driving licence number and its dates of issue and expiry.
- Your banking details if you want to pay monthly by debit order.
- Your full address and telephonic contact details.
- The names and contact details of your family and/or friends that you would wish us to contact in the event of an emergency or to post bail for you.
- Your vehicle registration details.
Please note that we will be asking you to provide us with scanned copies of documentation such as your ID/Passport, driving licence and proof of residential address. This is not because we are nosey, it is because these documents may be required in the event of a bail application having to be made.
If you are ready to subscribe and are not yet a member of JPSA, please click here to begin. If you are already a member of JPSA, please log in and add the service to your profile and that of the members you administer.
This page was last updated on Saturday 30 July, 2011