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- Rautenbach v Minister of Safety and Security (nowadays called the Minister of Police) 2017 (2) SACR 610 (WCC)

Introduction
Mr Rautenbach instituted civil action for damages in the sum of R346 750 against the Minister of Police before the High Court in Cape Town arising from Mr Rautenbach’s alleged unlawful arrest and detention at the local police station in Mossel Bay*.

Background
Mr Rautenbach and his former wife, Mrs Gladys Rautenbach are divorced. On 22 October 2009, Mrs Rautenbach applied for and was granted a final protection order in terms of the Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998 against Mr Rautenbach. Together with the protection order, Mrs Rautenbach also, in terms of section 8 of the Domestic Violence Act, received a warrant of arrest in respect of Mr Rautenbach. The execution of the warrant was, however, suspended on condition that Mr Rautenbach is prevented from, inter alia, committing further domestic violence, in assaulting and or insulting Mrs Rautenbach, and entering the premises and/or being present at the residence of Mrs Rautenbach in Mossel Bay.

Discussion
Mrs Rautenbach contacted the police after Mr Rautenbach sent her an e-mail early one morning of which the contents were offensive, vulgar and derogatory, expressing that he would not let go, that he bit like a bulldog and would not rest until he had his way. After this complaint, which was contained in a statement made to the police (see section 8 (4)(a) of the Domestic Violence Act), Const Forbes (at the time stationed in Mossel Bay) interviewed Mrs Rautenbach whereupon she told Const Forbes that she was a nervous wreck, could not sleep at her own house, and that Mr Rautenbach was at her house during the night and peeped through her windows. According to Const Forbes, Mrs Rautenbach further mentioned that she feared for her life and pleaded that he (Const Forbes) must do something about the matter. Const Forbes further testified that Mrs Rautenbach reiterated the alleged threat that Mr Rautenbach made to burn Mrs Rautenbach and her house down.

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[This is an extract of the discussion of this court case that is published in Servamus: October 2020. If you are interested in reading the rest of the discussion, contact Servamus’s offices by sending an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phoning (012) 345 4660. Ed.]

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