Before we decided to spend our holiday in Mozambique, we spoke to a number of people that we knew that visited that country.
A complaint all the time was the corruptness of the traffic system.
Our experience, on our first outing we were stopped by a traffic officer on the outskirts of Maputu. We were stopped for no obvious traffic violation. A request was made for drivers license and car papers, this was duly handed to the officer, when he could find nothing wrong he started looking around inside the vehicle. On the backseat was my son a small battery operated cooler box and our picnic rucksack. The officer immediately said that it was a violation to have anything but passengers on the back seat. He had no objection to the coolerbox that was powered from the car cigarette lighter on the seat, but the pick-nick rucksack that he stated was a hazard to the occupants and that we would be fined. We were told that the fine was 800 Meticals, he would not hand back the drivers license or car papers until we paid the fine. After handing over the money he handed back the papers, when I requested a receipt for this money I was told no receipt just go.
I was not prepared to get into an argument and we carried on on our journey.
On leaving Maputu back to South Africa we were once again stopped this time by military police driving in a bakkie. We were pulled over whilst driving.
Three military clad persons came to our vehicle one armed with a sub machine gun positioned himself in front of the car so as to prevent a getaway. This again for no apparent traffic violation. My drivers license was requested and again the interior of the vehicle was surveyed. Having packed all our stuff the coolerbox was on the back seat and this time my sons suitcase the size of an airline cabin bag. Objection was made that the suitcase should not be there and that we would be fined. We tried to explain that we were heading home and had no other space to put the bag, we were told that we should be using a trailer for this purpose and it was suggested that we should go and rent one. I asked the officer what the fine would be and he said 500 metical, I replied that I would pay the fine on condition that I be handed a receipt. I was told that he had no receipts, I then requested that we go to the police station for a receipt we were told no we would go to his commando barracks where a receipt be issued. When my wife asked him where it was he said that it was approximately 20 Km away. Just then a small truck came past with someone sitting on the back side flap of the bakkie, I asked the officer why they were trying to fine me that had done nothing wrong but he allows the bakkie with a person obviously violating traffic rules by not sitting inside the load body to just drive by. He then commented that it was a business I asked him if businesses were allowed to brake the law? I was not answered. My wife then told him that it was very unfair to want to given us a fine because the vehicle was loaded in exactly the same way when we entered the country and the officials at the border made no comment about it. I then requested that we continue to his commando camp for the receipt, and I asked to be handed my license back, this was done. First he turned towards his vehicle and then turned around and said that we must go I thanked him and left. We had no further problems along the way.
Mozambique has left a very bitter taste in my mouth and it is very doubtfull that I would ever visit that country again.
We were cheated at the Toll gate we were requested to pay R10 toll fees were only 17 Metical we were not given change.
Even the child at the marine front selling packets of chips charged me 20 metical for a packet that should not have cost more than 10 or 12 metical.
Not being able to speak their language also contributed to the problem.
What I am trying to say here is that it appears that the whole country from young to old is wrotten they are just out to take visitors for a ride through bribery and corruption.
It appears a people without a concience without integrity. People that can not afford to loose these visitors to their country that brings in much needed foreign currency.
Every person that I have spoken to that visited Mozambique had similar experiences and will not go back to Mozambique.
This problem I believe has been carrying on for far to long and I suggest the Government do something about it.
If there is different traffic laws that apply in Mozambique then point it out at the different border posts.
Be aware of what is happening, provide visitors a telephone number of a person that may be contacted if he feels that he is being scammed.
From a disgusted foreign visitor.