In an article published on Maroela Media dated 11 June 2017, it was alleged that a man was arrested in Limpopo for allegedly transporting 13 head of suspected stolen cattle (Afrikaans: “beeste”) in a lorry. Accordingly, the police returned the cattle to the farmer (the complainant) who took them back to his farm. The question is whether the disposal of the cattle is, legally correct.
This question raises the issue about the disposal of articles (exhibits) by the SAPS AFTER seizure but BEFORE trial which is regulated by section 30 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 (hereinafter referred to as section 30 of the CPA) which provides as follows:
“30. Disposal by police official of article after seizure
A police official who seizes any article referred to in section 20 [of the CPA] or to whom any such article is under the provisions of this Chapter delivered -
(a) may, if the article is perishable, with due regard to the interests of the persons concerned, dispose of the article in such manner as the circumstances may require; or
(b) may, if the article is stolen property or property suspected to be stolen, with the consent of the person from whom it was seized, deliver the article to the person from whom, in the opinion of such police official, such article was stolen, and shall warn such person to hold such article available for production at any resultant criminal proceedings, if required to do so; or …