- Dlamini v Minister for Safety and Security (currently called the Minister of Police) 2016 (2) SACR 655 (GJ)
The plaintiff in this matter, Mr Dlamini, is an attorney who instituted a civil action for damages against the Minister of Police (formerly called the Minister of Safety and Security) before a single judge of the High Court in Johannesburg, for alleged unlawful arrest and detention. After hearing evidence, the single judge gave judgment in favour of the Minister.
Not satisfied with this outcome, Dlamini (hereinafter referred to as the appellant) appealed to a full bench of three judges of this same Johannesburg High Court (“the court of appeal”) against the judgment of the single judge.
The facts, which gave rise to this matter, can, for as far as it is relevant to this discussion, be summarised as follows:
The appellant and his wife were embroiled in divorce proceedings, although they were still living together. On 27 October 2012, the appellant’s wife, Jill Anna Turnbull, accompanied by a friend, arrived at Linden Police Station. Ms Turnbull made a written statement at 09:15 in which she graphically described violent behaviour by her husband towards her the previous day at 19:40 after she had arrived home from the airport. The appellant, according to the statement, had thrown her clothes and some rubbish bags on her bedroom floor, which she picked up and placed on the couch. The appellant arrived and took her cellphone from her pocket and, while he was pushing her, threw the phone against the wall and then smashed it with a baseball bat in front of the children. He then proceeded to the kitchen, where he grabbed a knife and put it in his pocket. He went outside and poured petrol over her car. He returned, took out the knife from his pocket, put it back and pushed her down the steps, resulting in an injury to her foot which caused her to limp. He went back to her car and threatened to set it alight. Their little daughter screamed for him to stop, but he took the knife from his pocket and slashed the tyre of her car. He then warned her that the worst was still to come.