Arrest, Search, and Seizure

Arrest and detention of suspects

the latest police orders on arrest and detention

On the 19th of November 2019, a set of orders relating to arrest and detention was circulated by the National Commissioner of Police, General Sitole. The orders stress that arresting someone constitutes one of the most drastic infringements of the rights of an individual and a member should therefore regard it as a last resort.

The orders clearly state that arresting people to meet performance targets must stop immediately, and that any arrest without a warrant is unlawful.
​The full orders are below and worth noting and distributing.

Here is an overview by Dr Simon Howell of the legislation regarding drugs in South Africa. Below this are downloads of the the relevant Acts.

Section 11 (a) and (g) of Act 140 of 1992

the amendments to section 11(a) and (g) of Act 140 of 1992

In 2016, sections 11(a) and (g) of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act (140 of 1992) were ruled unconstitutional by Constitutional Court Ruling in Case CCT 253/15 Minister of Police and Others v Kunjana [2016] ZACC 21.

The judgement aligned Act 140 of 1992 with Act 51 of 1997, The Criminal Procedure Act. The same burden of procedure now applies to drug-related searches as any other search. In 2016 we held a meeting with Law Enforcement and the NPA, hosted by Prof Marks at the Urban Futures Centre, to discuss the implications of the ruling. Key points are:

  • All officers involved in the search must be named in the warrant
  • Their roles must be described
  • Officers must record everything correctly and meticulously, justifying all their actions.
  • Only in the case of ‘urgency’ and if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they would be able to obtain a search warrant can an urgent search be done without a warrant.
  • There must be reasonable suspicion as defined in Act 51 of 1997

Below you will find:

  • The judgement
  • The NPA presentation
  • Notes from the meeting between law enforcement, the NPA and civil society

​For the Acts, see the grey block.