Dag­ga Par­ty le­a­der stirs the pot

George Herald - - News - K­ris­ty Kol­berg Ac­ton com­ments

Af­ter a re­cent in­ci­dent in Wil­der­ness w­he­re a fa­mi­ly was se­ver­e­ly trau­ma­ti­sed by al­le­ged po­li­ce bru­ta­li­ty, Je­re­my Ac­ton, the le­a­der of the Dag­ga Par­ty, says po­li­ce we­re wrong to bre­ak in­to a ho­me be­fo­re sho­wing a war­rant.

On 11 Oc­to­ber ni­ne ar­med po­li­ce­men al­le­ge­d­ly burst in­to the ren­tal ho­me of E­rik Vorster and his wi­fe, Jen S­tiehler, in Lang­vlei Laan, Wil­der­ness. Ac­cor­ding to S­tiehler the in­ci­dent occur­red at ap­prox­i­ma­te­ly 17:00 with po­li­ce look­ing for tik, man­drax, il­le­gal fi­re­arms and can­na­bis.

“Ar­med po­li­ce­men for­ced their way in­to our ho­me wit­hout i­den­ti­fying them­sel­ves or i­ni­ti­al­ly pro­du­cing a pro­per war­rant,” she said. They would later re­a­li­se t­hat the ad­dress and the na­me on the war­rant we­re both in­cor­rect. “They e­ven­tu­al­ly ga­ve me the war­rant to re­ad. The ad­dress on the war­rant was wrong. So was my hus­band’s na­me. He is E­rik Vorster, not E­ric Mu­el­ler as the war­rant sta­ted.”

Ac­cor­ding to Ac­ton the po­li­ce had al­le­ge­d­ly re­cei­ved a com­plaint from a no­to­ri­ous­ly un­friend­ly neig­hbour, which led to them pro­du­cing a war­rant with in­cor­rect de­tails.

But, says Ac­ton, the po­li­ce we­re al­so not cor­rect in first bre­a­king in­to the dwel­ling be­fo­re sho­wing the war­rant. “War­rants ha­ve to be pre­sen­ted be­fo­re en­try un­less the­re is a re­al risk of de­structi­on of e­vi­den­ce. War­rant­less en­try of ho­mes is un­la­w­ful, un­con­sti­tu­ti­o­nal and ren­ders pro­se­cu­ti­on in­va­lid sin­ce the con­sti­tu­ti­o­nal court jud­ge­ment in the *Sta­te vs Kun­ja­na. Ma­ny cops would dis­re­gard t­hat and ci­te re­a­son to be­lie­ve t­hat e­vi­den­ce would be de­stroy­ed, but this is s­lig­ht­ly mo­re dif­fi­cult to­day than the past. In ma­ny pla­ces, the po­li­ce are still ma­li­ci­ous­ly stop­ping and searching per­sons wit­hout a war­rant in the street and ar­res­ting people for pos­ses­si­on of small a­mounts of dag­ga,” Ac­ton told the Ge­or­ge He­rald.

Ac­ton says t­hat all ci­ti­zens should do­wn­lo­ad the con­sti­tu­ti­o­nal court judg­ment Ca­se 108/17 CCT from www.saf­lii.org.za/za/ca­ses/ ZACC/2018/30.pdf and keep a hard copy in their ho­me.

Ac­ton on con­fis­ca­ted i­tems in pri­son

“One of the key re­a­sons t­hat po­li­ce still ar­rest for any a­mount is be­cau­se they [po­li­ce of­fi­cers] are sim­ply u­sed to ste­a­ling can­na­bis from kno­wn g­ro­wers on a re­gu­lar ba­sis,” says Ac­ton. Ha­ving being de­tai­ned him­self for ha­ving dag­ga ash in a ma­t­chbox pri­or to the Con­sti­tu­ti­o­nal Court jud­ge­ment, he wit­nes­sed how cash, cel­lp­ho­nes and can­na­bis of tho­se ar­res­ted o­ver a wee­kend we­re gi­ven to a spe­ci­fic per­son, a gang­ster of rank who joins the ar­res­ted group o­ver a wee­kend.

“On the Sunday nig­ht be­fo­re ap­pea­ring in court, man­drax was al­so de­li­ver­ed in­to the hol­ding cells of the po­li­ce sta­ti­on I was held in. T­hat per­son was then ‘re­man­ded in cus­to­dy’ and en­te­red the lo­cal pri­son with all of the sto­len goods and d­rugs obtai­ned o­ver t­hat wee­kend with the help of the po­li­ce of­fi­cers. I re­por­ted this to the com­man­ding of­fi­cer at the sta­ti­on but was sim­ply told ‘you ha­ve no p­roof’.

“The­se po­li­ce mem­bers o­pe­ra­te in a shift. They ha­ve al­so rai­ded a f­riend’s ho­me w­hi­le he was a­sleep af­ter the ‘at ho­me’ jud­ge­ment. They sei­zed a­bout 300g but the ar­rest did not le­ad to any pro­se­cu­ti­on. The can­na­bis ho­we­ver com­ple­te­ly di­sap­pea­red and was ne­ver re­tur­ned,” Ac­ton said.

Vorster con­fir­med on Tu­es­day mor­ning t­hat his wi­fe’s cel­lp­ho­ne and their can­na­bis was still in the pos­ses­si­on of the po­li­ce.

Vorster’s pho­ne wa­sn’t con­fis­ca­ted. He says they al­so ha­ve not had any access to the war­rant. “We will be ta­king le­gal acti­on a­gainst the of­fi­cers in­vol­ved in the raid as well as their in­for­mant, for pro­vi­ding fal­se in­for­ma­ti­on un­der o­ath,” said Vorster.

P­lig­ht of ci­ti­zens in pri­sons

Ac­ton told the Ge­or­ge He­rald t­hat despi­te them de­man­ding the re­le­a­se of dag­ga-re­la­ted de­tai­nees on the day of the Con­sti­tu­ti­o­nal Court jud­ge­ment, people who we­re ar­res­ted for their can­na­bis con­victi­ons be­fo­re the jud­ge­ment are still being de­tai­ned, which is not in the in­te­rest of jus­ti­ce or the mi­ni­mi­sa­ti­on of harm.

“This is on­ly a con­ti­nu­an­ce of the a­bu­se of rig­hts and is cau­sing gre­at harm to fa­mi­lies. Not to men­ti­on cos­ts to the sta­te,” he said.

* http://www.saf­lii.org.za/za/ca­ses/ ZACC/2016/21.html

P­ho­to: Fa­ce­book

Je­re­my Ac­ton and Ras­ta­fa­ri­an la­wy­er Gar­reth P­rin­ce on the day the ban on p­ri­va­te pos­ses­si­on, con­sump­ti­on and p­ri­va­te cul­ti­va­ti­on of can­na­bis at ho­me was ru­led un­con­sti­tu­ti­o­nal.

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