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  • Some people seem to choose a life of violent crime. We ask whether it is due to an antisocial personality disorder or genes or whether other factors are at play. Read this interesting article in the August 2017 issue of Servamus.

    Some people seem to choose a life of violent crime. We ask whether it is due to an antisocial personality disorder or genes or whether other factors are at play. Read this interesting article in the August 2017 issue of Servamus.

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Flimsy grounds proferred for reasonable suspicion, are insufficient for arrest without a warrant - Mkwanazi and three others V Minister of Police, unreported case no EL 259/2016 and ECD 759/2016 dated 17 January 2017 Eastern Cape High Court, East London Local Court (ECELLC)

Mr Mkwanazi and three other men (hereinafter referred to as plaintiffs [Afrikaans: “eisers”]) instituted civil action for damages against the Minister of Police before the Eastern Cape High Court, East London Local Court, as a result of their alleged unlawful arrest and detention.

 

Introduction
At the beginning of this (civil) trial, the court commenced its judgment by making the following remarks in paragraph [1] –

“[1] A peace officer’s job is not an easy one at the best of times. In the course of their duties they are regularly placed in situations where they are called upon to weigh up their statutory duty to enforce the law against the constitutionally entrenched rights of suspects. And these are more often than not snap decisions, taken on the spur of the moment and without the benefit of legal counsel. When the lawfulness of arrests is challenged by disgruntled suspects, the conduct of peace officers are critically picked apart by lawyers and pronounced upon by judicial officers. And in the sterile environment of a Court of Law their best intentions count for nought since their actions are considered objectively and measured against the exacting standards of the mythical ‘reasonable man’”*. (Emphasis added by Pollex.)

According to the court, this is exactly the invidious position in which W/O Eugene Chipps, a sector manager for Community Policing in the Beacon Bay area (near East London), found himself on Wednesday 9 December 2015. On the basis of information that W/O Chipps received through the WhatsApp chat group of a neighbourhood watch, he arrested the four plaintiffs without a warrant at about 09:00 that morning.

 

Discussion

According to W/O Chipps, a message was posted around 08:00 on 9 December 2015 on the Beacon Bay Neighbourhood Crime Prevention Forum’s WhatsApp group, to the effect that there had been a housebreaking incident at Hawks Head Drive, Beacon Bay, and that a maroon Toyota Camry sedan was seen driving around in the area.

At the time it was a matter of public record that housebreakings in the area were rampant, and that police investigations seldom resulted in the arrests of suspects. According to the court, one can therefore understand W/O Chipps’s excitement and the over-exuberant (enthusiastic) manner in which he pursued investigation into what he considered to have been a “hot lead”.

Since, in W/O Chipps’s experience, housebreakings were rife in areas where building construction was taking place, he asked a local contractor whether or not he recognised the maroon Toyota Camry. The contractor’s reply was in the affirmative, and he said that it belonged to the first plaintiff, Mr Mkwanazi, who was also involved in various sub-contracts in the Beacon Bay area.

To cut a long story short, the first and second plaintiffs were soon thereafter arrested by W/O Chipps. Five of the first plaintiff’s other employees, including the third and fourth plaintiffs, were arrested about 30 minutes later. All four plaintiffs were taken to Fleet Street Police Station in East London where they were incarcerated until the following Monday 14 December 2015 (which was apparently the first court day after the expiry of the specified 48 hours)*. All four of the plaintiffs were released at approximately 10:00 that Monday morning without appearing in court, after the charges against all four of the plaintiffs had been provisionally withdrawn.

Not satisfied with this turn of events, all four plaintiffs instituted civil actions for damages (Afrikaans: “skadevergoeding”) referred to supra.

The defendant, namely the Minister of Police, submitted that the arrest concerned was made in terms of section 40(1)(b) of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 (“the CPA”)* and that it was thus lawful.

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[This is only an extract of an article published in Pollex in Servamus: July 2017. Contact Servamus’s offices to obtain the rest of the article by sending an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phoning (012) 345 4660/22.]

Servamus - August 2017

Asanda Baninzi and Wox Mthuthuzeli Nombewu hijacked a sergeant based at the Langebaan Airforce Base and his girlfriend, then drove them to the Mawumawu area in Nyanga.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
Who will be the next National Commissioner of the SAPS? That is the question on many concerned South Africans' lips - especially those of police members, researchers and the SAPS's partners in the fight against crime.
By Annalise Kempen
Normal, healthy people seldom dream about death. They do not see crime scenes and dead people when they close their eyes.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
For a period of 11 years the serial rapist and murderer, Jimmy Maketta, terrorised communities in the Philippi area near Cape Town.
By Kotie Geldenhuys

Pollex - August 2017

Read More - S v Parkins 2017 (1) SACR 235 (WCC)
Bradley Parkins (“the accused”) was convicted in the regional court sitting at Wynberg in the Cape Peninsula (“the trial court”) on the following six charges:
Read More - S v Mabitle 2017 (1) SACR 325 (NWM) and S v Monye and Another 2017 (1) SACR 329 (SCA)
In Ask Pollex in Servamus: August 2015, Pollex referred to a number of reported cases in respect of “contract killings”.
Read More In Servamus: June 2017, Pollex discussed the case of S v Hewitt 2017 (1) SACR 309 (SCA) (“the Hewitt case”). (The case involved the retired, world-renowned champion tennis player and instructor, Bob Hewitt.)
The Hewitt case was about three female complainants of whom two were raped and one was sexually assaulted (this offence was known as indecent assault at the time).
This month sees the last of our series of unlawful arrest and detention cases.

Letters - August 2017

Read More - An update (Servamus: December 2016
The telephone rings sharply in the charge office of Kliptown Police Station. The sergeant on duty looks up at the old clock hanging above the fireplace.
From 13 to 16 June 2017, members of the South African Police Service embarked on a trip to Mossel Bay for the Inter Provincial Soccer Championship, which was held at the D'Almeida sports ground.
Fathers’ Day was celebrated this year on 18 June, and I decided to run a special project under Social Crime Prevention for the fathers at Westville SAPS, with the wonderful support of some very gracious sponsors.
August 2017 Magazine Cover

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Servamus is a community-based safety and security magazine for both members of the community as well as safety and security practitioners with the aim of increasing knowledge and sharing information, dedicated to improving their expertise, professionalism and service delivery standards. It promotes sound crime management practices, freedom of speech, education, training, information sharing and a networking platform.