HOW MUCH MIGHT IS RIGHT? Application of Section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act

  • Traggy Maepa Institute for Security Studies
Keywords: police, force, use of force, South Africa, SAPS, rights, police brutality


In 1998 the South African parliament voted on the issue of the use of force when effecting an arrest, in order to bring standards of practice in line with the rest of the democratic world. Four years later the law still has not been signed by the state president, largely due to protests by the ministers of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and Safety and Security. The issue has been before the Constitutional Court and in May 2002, this court did what the executive was afraid to do, striking down parts of the Section and clarifying “reasonable force”. But the court ruling still did not go as far as the legislation in protecting citizens.

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