Intended amendments to the ‘Police Service Act’ can have far-reaching consequences


Intended amendments to the ‘Police Service Act’ can have far-reaching consequences
Intended amendments to the 'Police Service Act' can have far-reaching consequences

AfriForum submitted commentary today against the intended amendments to the South African Police Service Act 68 of 1995 (the Police Act).

The purpose of the amendments is to amend the Police Act to such an extent that the Minister of Police inter alia has the power to lay down a code of conduct which all neighbourhood watches have to comply with. Furthermore the distribution of information is unfairly regulated and the distribution of information in certain circumstances is deemed an indictable offence. The ability of law enforcement authorities to protect property is restricted and automatic assault rifles may not be present for law enforcement purposes during riots.

“The proposed amendments infringe on various constitutional rights guaranteed to citizens of South Africa, including the right of freedom of association and the right of freedom of speech. Citizens are hard hit by violence and crime, especially in rural communities, and it is unthinkable to restrict local neighbourhood watches. It can discourage volunteers to become part of the solution and to fight crime together with the SAPS,” says Marnus Kamfer, AfriForum’s Law and Risk Manager for Community Safety.

AfriForum is already in the process of taking legal advice and to consider further steps in case no attention is paid to the submitted commentary.

“The intended restriction on the sharing of information can have far-reaching consequences due to the fact that citizens will hesitate to share messages in the fear that it could possibly be false and the distributor can then be held accountable. Information that is withheld due to fear can have significant consequences for crime prevention actions,” Kamfer concludes.

Interested persons and those that want to submit commentary against the proposed amendments have till 15 November and commentary can be sent to [email protected].

Read the original article in Afrikaans on AfriForum

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