Anyone in South Africa who is a social media fanatic will have come across @Pigspotter warning them where the next ”porkie” is hiding, and where the bacon smell is coming from. After picking @Pigspotter’s brain regarding his personal safety tips for SA motorists, we also decided to dig deeper in to the void.
A while back there was quite a dispute as to whether @Pigspotter’s duties are legal, which turned into quite a controversy. There was talk of the Metro police actually ”hunting” @Pigspotter, and police told news stations that they were determined to get him arrested. “He will be arrested even if he stops tweeting now,” said metro police spokesperson Wayne Minnaar. “He can be charged with obstructing or defeating justice.” Of course, this did not stop him, and three years later he is still at it.
However, we’re not here to debate whether his actions are legal, good for road safety or not, but to turn the tables on him. As he states, ”Pigspotting is not about defeating the ends of justice, it’s about making South African motorists aware of the police presence on our roads.”
From your experience, what do you think are the most dangerous factors on the road?
I would have to say poor driving. I see more and more cars on the road, with worse and worse drivers behind the wheels. Road surfaces were a problem at one stage, but that has improved. The public transport system, taxis, are ridiculous in the way they drive, and the nonsensical lack of action from the JMPD and EMPD leads to this behaviour worsening.
What is your story? How did you get into ”Pigspotting”?
Well, in the beginning, I only came onto Twitter for the live Fifa World Cup updates. I love how immediate it is and the social interaction THEN was awesome, everyone friendly, non judgemental and helpful. After the World Cup I stayed on social media. One day I became frustrated at how the cops continuously hid behind walls and rocks and trees in order to trap people for monetary gain. There was nothing that ensured road safety, especially if the guy is speeding at 130km/h in a 60km/h zone, gets trapped by a pork chop hiding behind a tree, and then 600 meters down the road he loses control and kills a couple kids crossing the road. What good did that trap do? None. So I decided to notify some people about traps and got information about traps and roadblocks and so it started. I was aiming for a nice small underground following of about 5000…. I superseded that in a month.
Do you sometimes get into trouble due to the ”Pigspotter” initiative?
I am no saint, I make mistakes, we all do. I sometimes get lost in a thought and then remember to take an offramp a little late and SAFELY cross over a solid white line. I have been pulled over for that infringement, typical that it’s one of the few times the cops are ever looking for such infringements, and I gladly accepted my fine and paid it. If I do the crime, I am happy to do the time and pay my dues.
Any tips for people on the road dealing with traffic officials?
Number one…. There is NO SUCH THING as a ‘Spot Fine’. It is called a bribe. If you pay it, you are as guilty as the corrupt pig requesting it and you are part of the problem and not the solution.
Number two…. Be respectful of the cops. You’ll never get anywhere with a bad attitude. Admit you were wrong and take the fine.
Number three…. Demand they give you the fine if you were in the wrong. Half the time they are to lazy to write the ticket and will let you off anyway.
Which city do you think has the worst drivers?
Johannesburg without a doubt. Cape Town drivers are so chilled and relaxed.
What are your pet hates on the road?
Taxis, parents who don’t buckle their children up, and assholes who speed up next to you to try cut in.
Do you ever get road rage?
More than I should. I hoot and flash my lights to let people know what I think of their rubbish driving. I have also stopped next to parents to ask them if they love their children or not.
I get infuriated, but I wouldn’t get out and break someones mirror or dent their door.
How do you get all the info for Pig Spotter?
A lot of it is what I see on the roads, I drive around a lot. Some is from WhatsApp groups with all the emergency services. Lots from other awesome followers who I recognise and trust. I even have my dad call me up and tell me about what he has spotted on the roads. It really is a group effort. I’m not like @TrafficSA who sits behind a computer all day and has information fed to it from other sources. I also like to add humour to make it more engaging. I like to see myself as a massively reliable source who tweets facts with integrity. I also like to see myself as ”The guy who speaks for the ‘little guy’ against the ‘big guys’”.
You can follow @PigSpotter on Twitter, visit his Facebook Page or check out the website. Also keep an eye out for WOW’s very informative interview with Pigspotter.