Independent monitoring of police custody in South Africa

In terms of section 12(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of South
Africa, 1996, everyone has the right to freedom and security of the person,
which includes the right:

  • (a) not to be deprived of freedom arbitrarily or without just cause;
  • (b) not to be detained without trial; . . .
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026 – The Risks of Police Custody

Independent custody monitoring systems provide for visits by independent visitors to custody facilities for the purpose of ensuring that people in custody are being humanely treated. Such schemes, sometimes called lay visitor schemes, exist in various countries. However, though there are mechanisms for the inspection of prisons in South Africa,1 there is no system that is focused on inspecting the conditions under which people are held in police custody in the country – this despite the fact that, if South African Police Service (SAPS) figures for persons arrested and charged are used as an indicator, in the region of 1.5 million people are held in police custody in South Africa each year (see Table 1).

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Campaign to Decriminalise Petty By-Laws

Almost half of the South African adult population lives below the poverty line. Despite some progress in addressing the country’s developmental challenges, for many, life in South Africa remains characterised by high unemployment levels in the formal sector; lack of access to safe, well-located and affordable housing; and failings in service delivery by the state, amongst other complex social and economic challenges. The state’s scarce resources should therefore be directed towards addressing the underlying causes of poverty, inequality and other forms of marginalisation, rather than punishing the poor and similarly marginalised people through by-laws that unfairly and disproportionately affect them.

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Annual Report – 2019

It is my pleasure to table our annual report for 2019. The police remain one of the most direct representations of the coercive power of the state. Police accountability is a key facet of all relevant international and continental laws such as the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT), the Guidelines on the Conditions of Arrest, Police Custody and Pre-Trial Detention in Africa (the Luanda Guidelines), and associated protocols such as the Minnesota Protocol on the Investigation of Potentially Unlawful Death.

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Policing the Urban Periphery in Africa: Developing safety for the marginal – Edited by Dr Simon Howell [ENG]

Numerous African cities have for the last two decades witnessed exponential expansion in their populations, grown in power both economically and politically, and in some instances become destinations for investment, people and goods in their own right. The vast influx of people into defined areas and spaces does, however, raise numerous challenges, both in terms of the governance of city spaces and for those who find themselves in these spaces.

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Policing the Urban Periphery in Africa: Developing safety for the marginal – Edited by Dr Simon Howell [FR]

Au cours des deux dernières décennies, nous avons constaté une croissance exponentielle de la population dans de nombreuses villes africaines, qui ont également connu une croissance de leur pouvoir économique et politique, et, dans certains cas, sont même devenues des destinations pour l’investissement, les biens et les personnes.

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Manual to Facilitate the Operationalisation of the SADC Guidelines on Crime and Violence Prevention

Southern Africa, through the vision of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Declaration and Treaty, posits a shared future in an environment of peace, security and stability, regional cooperation, and integration based on equity, mutual benefit and solidarity. The SADC’s Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation (SIPO II) demonstrates a growing realisation of the importance of safety and development interventions in achieving this vision.

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ACHPR 12th Newsletter [ENG FR PR AR]

In 2003, the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (the African Commission) through its Resolution 1 ACHPR/Res.64 (XXXIV) 03 adopted the Ouagadougou Declaration and Plan of Action on Accelerating Prisons and Penal Reforms in African 2 (the Ouagadougou Declaration). Among the strategies to decongest prisons in Africa, the Action Plan embedded in the Ouagadougou Declaration recommends the use of alternatives to penal prosecution in cases of petty offences.

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strengthening the role of civil society in holding the police accountable for human rights violations

On 18 and 19 March 2019, the Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI), together with the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF), the Omega Research Foundation (UK) and the Right2Protest hosted a workshop for civil society and community-based organisations from around the country on the role of civil society in holding the police accountable for human rights violations.

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Your Guide to the Complaints Process

This booklet, prepared by the Western Cape Police Ombudsman (WCPO) and the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF), is about police oversight in South Africa. It explains the role of the Western Cape Police Ombudsman in dealing with complaints about service delivery from the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the Western Cape and the Cape Town Metro Police Department (CTMPD)

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APCOF Principles on the Decriminilisation of Petty Offences in Africa [ENG FR PR AR]

In 2017, the Principles on the Decriminalisation of Petty Offences in Africa were adoped by the African Commission, becoming the latest development in a broader regional effort to articulate standards for acceptable human rights practices, specifically concerning matters of access to justice.

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