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  • Roy Kallaway
    Roy KallawayParticipant

    I read with interest Willie Stadler’s letter to your magazine, titled, “Beware the Bush Occupants of Botswana”. It was published in your September issue.

    I was also caught for speeding in the same spot as Mr Stadler, but on the 23rd of May, which was the day after he’d been there. I was driving a silver Fortuner, and I assume they were the same traffic officers. I found his letter intriguing as there were many similarities and differences in his and my experience.

    My wife and I had camped at Planet Baobab the night before (highly recommended) and were also heading for Maun. I was pulled over for speeding. I was aware that I had been exceeding the speed limit and readily admitted it to the traffic officer (not a ‘bush occupant’ as Mr Stadler refers to him). I found him, and his co-worker, to be both professional and friendly. He asked if I would like to have a look at his camera to verify my speed, but I declined, as I was aware of the speed I had been doing and it tallied with his claim. He then named the amount he was entitled to fine me, and showed me a form listing the charges billed for different speeds. I asked him if he could reduce it, as I am a pensioner. After a bit of bargaining he dropped it to less than half of the original amount requested.

    In the meantime my wife had started chatting to the other officer, who was also very friendly. He was chatting to her as if they were old friends and was busy showing her how the speed camera worked. Nobody likes being fined, but if caught I find it best to just be polite and friendly. We left there unhappy about being caught, but impressed with how the traffic officers had conducted themselves. In my case the traffic officer’s car was about 20 metres off the road, but not hidden away. The camera, which was next to the road, was on a tripod and easily visible.

    I wonder if Mr Stadler is not taking responsibility for his own negligence. It is possible that he had not been watching the road in front of him and was following his friend’s car too closely. It seems that he was more concerned about the technicalities of the law and finding fault with his so called “Bush Occupants” than the fact that both wives had been injured and their holiday abruptly ended.

    I am also amazed at the presence of mind of the traffic officer, who, having witnessed the horrific accident, rushed off to change his clothes.

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