[PRESS STATEMENT] Residents of Industry House & Others v Minister of Police & Others

Date: 01/07/2020

On 29 June 2020, the High Court in Johannesburg declared section 13 (7) (c) of the South African Police Services Act 68 of 1995 (the SAPS Act) constitutionally invalid in the matter of Residents of Industry House & Others v Minister of Police & Others.  The matter was brought by the Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI) on behalf of residents of inner city buildings in Johannesburg. Lawyers for Human Rights (“LHR”) appeared as amicus curiae and had argued the Act was used to disproportionately  infringe the rights of vulnerable communities by allowing for raids in people’s home with little respect for their privacy or dignity.

The court stated that section 13(7) (c) of the SAPS Act was being used to authorise warrantless raids  that were being carried out in a manner that was cruel, humiliating, degrading and invasive and ostensibly directed at harassing and intimidating residents. The court’s declaration of constitutional invalidity is suspended for 24 months to allow the legislature to cure the constitutional defect within that period. Pending the correction, the section will be read as prohibiting the search by police of any private homes and persons inside them. Searches of private homes and persons inside them will be made in terms of sections 21 and 22 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977, through a warrant of court.

Wayne Ncube, the Head of the Strategic Litigation Programme of LHR said, “We are pleased with this judgement, and must remain vigilant to limit the cruel way that law enforcement engages with, in particular, vulnerable communities living in impoverished conditions.

“This judgement is a significant counter to the criminalisation of poverty. Our clients are routinely harassed in their homes in warrantless raids with little concern for their rights. The right to privacy, dignity and due process should not be determined by what suburbs you reside in.”

LHR wishes to congratulate SERI and their clients on this victory in our struggle for social justice.

LHR’s efforts in this case were made possible by the Open Society Foundation – South Africa.


For queries:

Wayne Ncube, Head of Strategic Litigation Programme

Tel: 011 339 1960

E-mail: wayne@lhr.org.za

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