South Africa: Warrantless Searches Declared Unconstitutional in Win for Inner-City Residents - Parliament Ordered to Fix SAPS Act

analysis

In a hard-hitting judgment, the Johannesburg High Court declared unconstitutional warrantless searches of private homes and the people inside -- and gave Parliament two years to fix Section 13(7)(c) of the SAPS Act. Importantly, the ruling makes significant findings on how public officials exercise power.

It's taken about two years to get here, and the legal journey is not yet over.

The Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI), which represented Johannesburg inner-city residents, has 15 days from the 29 June warrantless search judgment to approach the Constitutional Court for an order confirming the declaration of invalidity. The SAPS may yet decide to appeal as SAPS national spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo indicated on Thursday:

"We have briefly studied this judgment and we are seriously considering opposing it."

Until all these processes are completed, Monday's declaration of invalidity by a full Bench of the Johannesburg High Court remains inactive.

But it's a crucial legal win for almost 3,000 residents of 11 abandoned or hijacked inner-city buildings that had been targeted in 13 raids between 27 May 2017 to 2 May 2018 by the SAPS, Johannesburg Metro Police (JMPD), Home Affairs officials and the City under the DA mayorship of Herman Mashaba.

These raids --...

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