Well there Koos was, driving along in his newer car. Yes I use the word newer as it was not actually his car. Yes it was the same model, year and was registered to him, but it was not his car. This car was in better condition, the tyres were newer, it even had a CD player. Koos always wanted a CD player but he did not have the money to buy one himself. The sound system was amazing, the vibes he was listening to was felt all through his body. This car was sweet, just like his car but only newer, the free flow exhaust system had a rhythm of a growling animal, just loud enough to make its presence known but fast enough for you not to see what or who it was carrying away.
Was his wife going to believe that this is the car he bought to restore? She obviously saw that the car was a pile of junk. His car was bought from a scrap yard in Durban 6 months ago. Just a shell, the engine had no head on it, the tyres were showing metal cable, the roof and door linings were not even present, no windows at all, in fact it only had the drivers seat. Charlene went ballistic when he brought it home. Her exact words were “What the hell is this for???” with an expression on her face, similar to what he would imagine she would look like if she caught him cheating on her. You see they had a VW citi golf and it was running, actually it was running from garage to garage to be repaired. Koos was a police man and was not the typical DIY type, he did not even own a tool box for that matter.
Charlene asked him again, “What the hell is this for???”, her face still straining from the deceit. Koos had an idea, he heard about this from another officer he worked with, Albert. The problem was that Charlene could not know about this, it bends the rules ever so slightly. Who was he trying to kid, it bent the rules so far over that he could be locked up for a few years. He knew it was wrong and knew the consequences, the driving factor for this bold and illegal move was that it was 1997, the new South African Government had made a few changes, the pay situation had not been changed and it seemed that everyone was corrupt, so why not take a chance, especially since no one was being caught or convicted, well not in uniform anyway.
Koos plucked up the courage to tell her what his plan was with the rusted and overturned hunk of junk with the VW emblem on the boot lid. The next words out his mouth sealed his fate. “Honey, this is …uh…. Albert and I are ….um… we are going to ….”. “Come on spit it out” she demanded, her voice now that of a Sergeant Major in the army. His word seemed to stick to his pallet and crumble of his lips. “Baby…. Albert and I are going to restore this car and sell it to make profit…”. He was not sure why she was grinning, was she about to storm him and try and beat some sense into him, not forgetting last months fiasco. Charlene asked him to hang a spice rack in the kitchen, he loaned a drill from the next door neighbour, marked up the wall at the required height, the first hole when well with the drill bit sliding into the wall without much effort. The second hole however was not going to well, he met with a bit of resistance and when he pushed harder a jet of water came out and soaked him, the neighbours drill and the entire kitchen. Obviously he did not know where the master tap was located why would he???
She asked him to vow that he would never ever tackle another DIY project again, after realising that his talent was catching bad guys. Koos stood at a sturdy 5 foot 11 inches and had a five-o-clock shadow 30 minutes after he had shaven in the morning. A true Boer seun. Charlene’s grin had steadily become a giggle and progressed to an uncontrollable fir of laughter. He felt a little odd standing there, this full grown man being shamelessly taunted and laughed at, Charlene was a mere 5 foot 4 inches, size was obviously not a factor in this marriage, she was such a snug fit to wear the pants in his house hold he never once asked for them back.
She went into the house to recover, her side was splitting so bad that she could not stand let alone stand and read the “right act”. Albert arrived at that moment and they proceeded to push the trailer into the back yard and off load the rusted carcase before Charlene had time to pounce on the two of them. It was not difficult at all to off load, with so little original items and fitting still in the body it could not have weighed more than 500kg’s, it slid of the trailer into a corner of the yard only used by his Boerbull dogs, they were renowned for creating Pelindaba rocks all around his garden. Albert was a smooth operator, not only with the ladies, but with co-workers, the public and his timing was impeccable. By the time Charlene came out to have another attempt at belittling Koos’s idea, Albert was in his car and heading home.
Before Charlene could utter a single word Koos started with an explanation that would hopefully bring an end to his ridicule. He said that it would take a month or two and the car would no longer be just lying in the back yard anymore, it would be the envy of many of their friends and family. After all it was a 1996 Golf 3, 2.0 GTi, not that you could see it was all one solid colour with the road rash from the roll and the rust that had taken to the metal like cancer but the base colour was white. He continued for about an hour explaining that through his work he had met a few panel beaters, spray painters and scrap yard owners who now owed them favours that they would not be using much cash to get this beast running again. He showed her the registration papers, his name was being proudly pointed out to her with his forefinger, when she pointed out with her raised forefinger which he followed left and right with his eyes not missing a swish, if this did not work like he said it would there would be hell to pay.
Koos felt a relief pour into his body, or was it the cold beer he just cracked open. What he was not telling her was exactly how this whole “rebuild” was going to really be achieved. In fact only a select few people knew how this was going to happen. The next day Koos left for work with his registration papers safely tucked away in his jacket, no use raising suspicion so early on in the game. Koos met up with Albert for a quick cup of coffee and a further explanation of how this all works again. Koos felt dirty, dishonest and evil. Why was he doing this again… oh yes, the system sucked and why must the good guys finish last. He consoled himself that this was his reward for those long hours and often life threatening days he endured under supervisors he had as rookies not even 2 years ago, yes how this new government had changed the plans of so many people he thought, then the guilt started asking if it had only changed his plans….
The doors opened automatically at Old Mutual’s office block in JHB’s city centre, it felt like the devil was controlling his every move and opening doors for him that he knew should not be opened for a law abiding citizen. He look around for any sign that would direct him to a consultant that would speedily assist him without any red tape and drama. You see Old Mutual, in 1997 was one of the few insurance companies around at that time that would insure a vehicle without having a physical check done of the vehicle. And how would he have gotten the heap of metal there anyway, it was only worth R1500 in its current condition, or at least that is what he had paid for it yesterday in Durban.
The consultant offered Koos a seat and they proceeded with the request Koos had of insuring his GTi, this was not an uncommon request and the consultant had dealt with hundreds of happy clients in the past few years. Koos was uneasy, even asking if the air-conditioning was faulty, he was developing a wetness under his arms that was steadily creeping over his chest up his neck to his face and forehead, not to mention his hands that felt like natural springs were seeping out of. The consultant asked him all the necessary questions and came to the last one, which had Koos grasping for his breath. “How much would you like to insure your car for?”, Koos was so close all he had to do now was utter the words. He took a deep breath and expressed his wish to insure it for market value with the following extra’s, Mags, CD player with sound system and tinted windows. The consultant said he would like to see this beast…
Koos could not believe his ears, why would the consultant want to check out his story, Albert gaurenteed him that this would not happen, Koos’s heart was palpitating, he was battling to fathom what was about to happen, he was going to be caught out. The consultant asked Koos if he was feeling ill, his skin tone had gone from that olive completion to that of a cancer patient during chemotherapy, a lifeless grey. Koos could not get his words out, he just nodded. The consultant continued and said he would like to see his car, it sounds like he has put a lot of time into it and he also has one, he would like to get a few ideas. Koos was beginning to realise that the stress he had just placed on his heart was not needed, it was a friendly request to swap notes and become friend maybe.
The premium was acceptable, not that he could really afford to pay it for a car he did not really have, he kept telling himself that it would all be worth it in the end. Now all that had to happen was that he keeps paying his insurance for at least 3 months, while pulling the wool over Charlene’s eyes, and presto he would have a “newer” car then the one he had now. All that had to be done now was to hook up with the guy Albert knew at pound 13, this was the police pound for stolen recovered cars in Diepkloof. Koos had never met Sipho before, so Albert was once again needed for the introduction. Albert picked Koos up one afternoon at around 4pm and the proceeded to pound 13, there they walked around for a while until Sipho could get out of the office and come and meet with them in between the stolen cars.
It had to be done this was because not everyone was capable of doing the magic Sipho could, and if his superiors got wind of his doings he would surely be transferred to another division, this would bring an end to his life of luxury. You see Sipho was merely an inspector, he had only been a police man for 4 years or so, and in this time had found a way of getting an extra income, yes it was an illegal activity but it was one that afforded him a 525 BMW with all the trimmings, he had recently built a new house and he was paying for his kids higher learning education. No one ever asked him where he got the money for all his “extra’s”, after all he was a man of the law, he would never do anything suspicious or underhanded now would he…
Koos handed Sipho a wad of notes, R5000.00 to be exact, if one thought of it, 5K was not all that much for a R89000 car. The time had come where Koos had crossed over to the other side, becoming one of the people he once swore to keep off the streets of South Africa. How did he get here… he kept reminding himself that the system had brought him here. The handing over of the money felt so empty, what was he getting in exchange? He could not take it with him now and the uneasiness was growing. Just as Koos was turning to leave Sipho standing in the sea of stolen cars, Albert reminded him that he had not given Sipho his identity document along with a certified copy of it. This is where it really sunk in, there was no turning back now, the document was now the property of Sipho, what if this already crocked guy uses my identity document to do something underhanded, no not like he was doing already, something underhanded and illegal that would not only not offer Koos a gain in life but get him into worse trouble?
Well this was it, the deal was over. Albert congratulated Koos on the purchase of his newer car and said that it was only a matter of time now. All that Koos wanted to do now was go home, somewhere safe, where he could be alone to contemplate what he had done. Or had he done it, after all the only thing he had done this far was purchase a piece of scrap for R1500, take out insurance on it and give R5000 to a crocked cop. They could not hold him on any charges except thinking about doing something illegal. Oh yes Koos thought…. My identity document is with Sipho so my intent to do wrong cannot be denied, but I still haven’t done anything wrong... Albert rocked up the next day and they loaded the scrap carcase up onto the trailer once again and told Charlene that it was going to the panel beater. It would never be seen again.
Five months later Koos was busy in the charge office, he had just arrested 2 guys for house breaking, he caught them red handed exiting the house with some electrical goods. A familiar sound broke the silence, it was his cellular phone singing “jail house rock” to him. He answered in his usual way, casual but stern and in control, seconds later he was stuttering and he could barely utter anything that would make sense to a kinder garden kid. His knees felt weak as he hurried out the charge office to the privacy of the forecourt. It was Sipho, “You must go and do it now” he heard him say, “Your car is here, just like you ordered and it looks like this…”. Koos did not know if he should cry or shout for joy, but one thing was sure he was in it now whether he wanted to be there or not.
He rushed inside the charge office and told the station commander that his car had just been stolen, they must put a lookout on all the channels immediately for his car the registration number was… Koos did not know his registration number because he did not really have this car that was stolen, he had never driven this car before either. He tried to compose himself as best he could and told them to type his identity number into the computer and retrieve it there, Koos said the shock of what happened cause a temporary memory loss. He was in a total flat spin. Albert was not there to guide him, he had to try and think back and do what he was told to do. He could not miss a single step now because it would jeopardise the whole situation.
He used the charge office’s phone to call his insurance company and informed them that his car had just been stolen. He told them he would be there tomorrow with the case number. He asked the station commander for a case number and left in his patrol car stretching every tax rand into the red, as he over reved the car and spun it tyres. After all he was suffering a loss and he had to make it look like he was really upset about the whole thing. The next day he went to the insurance company and filled out the required forms and sat through the interview, Koos gave them the case number along with his version of where his car was standing at the time it was stolen.
It was 1997, there were no lie detector test, inspections, further interviews or any other unpleasant questions, especially for someone in uniform. He asked then what was expected of him and what the next step was. They said that there was a 5 week waiting period to see if his car was recovered by the police, if not then they would pay him out market value for the car which was sitting at around R83000.00. Wow that is a ton of cash, he did not even earn that in a year. He was ecstatic. He made sure to ask what was the procedure if the car was found by the police, because he knew they would never find that rust bucket he and Albert had taken away a few months earlier. That shell was cut up and sold as scrap metal so the chances of them finding his car was zero. The consultant explained that if the car was recovered they would remove it from the police pound and take it to a panel beater where any damage would be repaired that might have been caused by the thieves and then once that is done it gets returned to him in a good running condition.
Well low and behold, “Jail house rock” began playing in the patrol car 5 days later. On the other side of the phone was a voice Koos had never heard before, he looked shocked. Could this be happening? Is it already time to do this, it was only 3 days ago that the situation had come to a head and now it was bursting out like a festering pimple. Koos replied to voice that he would be there as soon as he could. Koos had been summoned by the superintendent of pound 13, they have reason to believe that his car has been recovered.
On arriving at pond 13 Koos started looking around for Sipho, he just wants some reassuring words, he must play it cool, remember all the right answers and remember to point in the right places. After some inquiring Koos finds the office where he is supposed to be. He knocks on the door and a voice bellow’s out to him that he should enter. He is greeted by a man that towers above him, he does not look too friendly, but once he sees that Koos is also a policeman his face becomes welcoming. He tell Koos that he is lucky that his car was found so soon, but there is one thing worrying him, it is not the same colour as what he reported stolen, and they cannot understand that the car was totally re-sprayed in a little under a week. Well Koos sat with a mouth full of teeth trying only to say enough not to look suspicious and not offering any explanation that might incriminate him.
“Well lets go look at your car” says the supervisor. They walk out the office down to the yard where all the recovered cars are kept. The supervisor leads the way, it feels like Koos is walking to the galley to be hung. Just then the supervisor stops and says well here’s your car. Koos is taken aback, he cannot believe that he is standing next to “HIS” car… it is beautiful, red, mags, leather interior, CD player everything just like he always wanted. Koos is awoken from his daydreaming by the supervisors voice. He is on the other side of the car opening the glove box. “This is where we found the copy of your identity document” he says, “but we are still concerned that this might not be your car“. The supervisor enquires to a pale looking Koos, “is there any other way you can confirm that this is your car, the engine number has been ground off along with the chassis number, the numbers on the windows are also scratched off, so there is no sure way of telling if this is your car”
Koos composes himself and says to the supervisor “ can we open the boot please”, they both proceed to the rear of the car and open the boot. Koos says in the best stable voice that he possible can “I used to keep my identity document under the jack for safe keeping because I am for ever losing it, if you look at my report when the car was stolen I mentioned it there”. The car was removed by the insurance company the next day and Koos got his newer car that he always wanted and Charlene never ever doubted his DIY abilities ever again. Koos also made a promise to never ever do anything like this ever again… or did he???