“Cops do tend to overstep their boundaries,” said Tumelo Marema, a third-year law student. Marema also mentioned that police officers may not assault people, even those who resist answering questions. The only lawful force permitted is on a person resisting arrest, and even then it should be to a reasonable degree. Furthermore, Marema highlighted that if any person has been assaulted by the police, that person should tell their lawyer, a senior police officer, or a magistrate as soon as possible and insist on seeking medical attention.

By law, for anyone to be arrested, “they need to be in contravention of a certain law,” said Molao. Furthermore, Molao explained that there are two types of arrests: arrests with and without a warrant. The latter is reserved for more urgent cases, such as rape and arson.


South African Constitution

Chapter 2 – Bill of Rights

Section 35: Arrested, detained and accused persons

1) Everyone who is arrested for allegedly committing an offence has the right :

a) to remain silent;

b) to be informed promptly:

i) of the right to remain silent; and

ii) of the consequences of not remaining silent;

c) not to be compelled to make any confession or admission that could be used in evidence against that person,

d) to be brought before a court as soon as reasonably possible, but not later than:

i) 48 hours after the arrest; or

ii) the end of the first court day after the expiry of the 48 hours, if the 48 hours expire outside ordinary court hours or on a day which is not an ordinary court day;

e) at the first court appearance after being arrested, to be charged or to be informed of the reason for the detention to continue, or to be released; and

f) to be released from detention if the interests of justice permit, subject to reasonable conditions.

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