Cape Town fires vs fines furore sizzles on social media

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Cape Town fires vs fines furore sizzles on social media

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\n Dave Chambers | 2017-01-20 17:36:33.0\n \n \n \n \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n \n\n \n\n\n \n \n

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\n \n \n \n Fire raging on Cape Town’s Table Mountain.\n \n \n \n
Image by: City of Cape Town\n \n \n \n

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\n The flames ravaging Cape Town might have died down for now but that doesn’t mean residents aren’t hot under the collar.\n

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A Facebook post accusing a law enforcement officer of throwing a cigarette butt out of his car window‚ attracted the ire of City of Cape Town security boss JP Smith on Friday.

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The officers‚ whose car was blazoned across Facebook by estate agent Justin Coetzee‚ said they were taking legal action — and they suggested Coetzee was taking revenge on the officers for issuing parking fines.

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Coetzee‚ a well-known long-distance swimmer who has taken part in numerous charity swims‚ was unrepentant.

\nHe told TimesLive: “I’m just a concerned citizen‚ not prepared to turn a blind eye on careless and reckless behaviour‚ particularly on the part of those who should know better.

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“Perhaps councillor Smith should direct his upset at the official(s) concerned and ensure that this type of behaviour is never repeated‚ condoned or excused.”

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On Tuesday afternoon‚ Coetzee posted a photograph of a law enforcement car driving towards Camps Bay from Llandudno with the message: “Just witnessed this ‘law enforcement’ officer throwing a cigarette butt out the window of his official car. Unacceptable at the best of times‚ but while Cape Town is burning?”

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Just witnessed this “law enforcement” officer throwing a cigarette butt out the window of his official vehicle as seen below.. unacceptable at the best of times, but whilst Cape Town is burning?

\nPosted by Justin Coetzee on Tuesday, January 17, 2017

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The post was shared almost 10 000 times‚ and Smith said the officers “object to the allegation and contend the complainant’s version is spurious and is tantamount to slander”.

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He added: “The driver of the law enforcement vehicle and the passenger confirmed to the investigator that they are non-smokers.

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“The allegations were investigated by our fleet co-ordinator and he reported that he has spoken to colleagues who works with the officers and they confirmed the accused members are non-smokers. He checked the vehicle and looked for telltale signs of smoking but found none.

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“There have been complaints from residents about law enforcement issuing fines for parking and it is believed that this may have led to antagonism in this case. This could perhaps be a motivation for his actions.

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“Please note‚ if our staff commit offences they are held accountable‚ one must however follow due process and treat staff fairly by allowing them to give their side also.”

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Coetzee denied that he had acted maliciously or vindictively.

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“Really not looking for a fight with anyone and certainly not trying to be either a villain or a hero‚” he told TimesLive in a WhatsApp message.

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“Conservation and the environment are important issues for me and I would far rather not have had to post what I saw‚ but felt morally compelled to do so.

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“All I intended to achieve through the post was to have the matter addressed and the behaviour corrected. Nothing more‚ nothing less. I hope this clarifies my position.”

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