It’s 2023, almost 5 years since the 2018 Privacy Judgment. At Fields of Green for ALL we still get reports of arrests almost daily. We have statistics gathered from pleas for help via our webform, phone calls to our 24hr Arrest Helpline, and emails. The stats below are from the webform submissions following the report of the arrest and on condition the accused fills in the form for our records. We are certain there are many more arrests that do not cross our radar.
Since January 2018, Out of a total of 293 arrests reported only to our CRM system via webform, just 35 were provided with a supposed warrant, only 47 had the reason for the search explained to them (154 had no explanation, 27 can’t remember), only 41 people say they felt safe during the arrest, 29 were kept for more than 48 hours (according to the police directives they should not keep you in the cells for Cannabis AT ALL). 105 did not have their rights read at the arrest
13 were denied medical safety. 86 folks claim the police stole their money and belongings (and an extra 88 without letting them sign for it) or ever returning it, even though their cases were either dismissed or they never even appeared in court. 21 reported the police behaving inappropriately in front of children, 27 were asked for bribes, 82 were denied a phone call and 59 felt profiled because of their race, gender or culture. 293 received criminal records (which denied them employment and travel)
Though there has been a decline in arrests, they have by no means stopped. Considering the scope of Fields of Green for ALL’s work, we calculated that only a very small fraction of arrests (0.08%) reach our radar. We were NOT surprised when a recent report by Action Society showed that 90% of South Africans do not trust the police.
We report on true stories of abuse by the South African Police “Service”. Unedited. Published on request and/ or with permission from the victims.
It is once again clear that the SAPS do not respect the constitution or the government, they do not follow the law, let alone their own directives or circulars, and they don’t respect any South African citizen’s human rights.
If you would like us to tell your story (anonymously if you wish) please contact our #StopTheCops Dagga Arrest Helpline.
Police station involved: Lambert’s Bay
Events as told by the victim, Dwayne Welgemoed, 21:
We grew 130 cannabis plants that where in various stages of vegetation, and 4 plants in flower. We do not sell nor support any unlawful use of cannabis in any way. We use cannabis souly for recreational use.
The police confiscated all of our plants without showing a warrant or giving a reason why they where there. The police said they needed someone to go to the police station so i went with them without resisting. They charged me (Dwayne) for cultivating cannabis.
The arrest was on 16 December, but his first appearance is only on 20 March 2023. He is out on bail.
Police station involved: Strand
Events as told by the 37 year old husband of the victim (32):
At 13:55 22/11/2022 the Anti gang unit appear in front of my house, the Colonel and their guys threatened my wife to open the door, not in a good manner, (was very rude). With my wife standing at the front gate with my 2 year old son and 4 year old daughter they broke my front gate (forced entry and no warrant).
They wanteded to shoot my dogs. The more my wife asked whats you’re business here, the more rude and aggressive they became.
They wanted to shoot my dogs! Sprayed stuff over my wall to the dogs!
At the time I was still at work, I drove from work immediately to find that they opened my garage where I was growing. I had 16 plants in week 4 flowering and 28 clones about 4 weeks old since rooted. They arrested both of us without reading our rights. They confiscated everything in my grow room to the last thing accept my Aircon. The anti gang unit promised it will be a informal bail which we can return home with a bail application which never happened, as a result, she was at premises when they arrived… I told them that whatever you want she has nothing to do with this, so they played their game with section 22B where they don’t have to have a warrant, even if the warrant is granted afterwards, it does not matter to them. So, the colonel told me that the only way to put everything on me is to sign a admission of guilt, I said, thank you, that is not an option but nothing further. They also later played nice cop and said that there should be no issue granting you informal bail, both our phones were confiscated and we went to the Strand SAPS…. There we went to an office where Colonel was, remember what we spoke earlier, please state your statement and she can go (remember, both of us were arrested without our legal rights being read).
I said to him, you are putting words in my mouth, I said that was an option earlier, nothing about yes or no. They quickly became bad cops again, suddenly only arrested my wife and not me which I was fully prepared to rather take me and not her because she is still breast feeding my son and she is the mother of my children. All the promises of getting back home etc was all a lie… They took merely more than two hours just to open a docket, I was asked to leave so that they can finish the docket and to get a CAS number. I phoned this morning at 00:21 to Strand SAPS to ask if there is a CAS number yet, their response, “No CAS have been reported” . My attorney and also my lawyer at the time, she specializes in civil rights etc… but she represented me at the moment in case they play their funny games… She was also asked to leave btw… no respect, just chased her out of the office. I mean, damn, they also classified my grow room as a “LAB” where I was just growing plants, apparently their “LAB” classification was a “pimped grow room that exceeds the number of plants allowed to grow (8) on-premises is classified as a “LAB”
… No surgical stuff was found, only plants, water, lights, dehumidifier’s, extractor fan and fans was found inside. No Alcohol whatsoever. They kept on being nice and rude and get to the point and cornering me at all times. I even helped them to confiscate everything and dismantle everything, the equipment is still mine until proven quality of growing weed for personal use, (I am planning to use my equipment again, within legal rights).
I even lost my 1st daughter due to Chemo and started too late with cannabis, she had leukemia and I won’t lie about that, we use it as a preventative because she was doing so well without the medical drugs and just cannabis I could not believe my eyes, however, things have turned around after 1 year post bone marrow transplant she “re-lapsed” and due to medical aid not covering natural meds we were forced to have a second Chemo round which was our only option, I can comfortably say that my daughter was medically murdered due to incompetent skills and knowledge. She was given the wrong doses of steroids, too much liquid (drip) per hour where her eyes began to swollen and only realised by the doctors that the dosage were too much. She would have been 8 now.
They did not take my wallet and money as I DONT HAVE ANY, they still said that this is a respectful home, a nice family, cute dogs etc… My daughter was so traumatized when they broke the front gate she screamed, my neighbors came to her rescue and to my children, the same lady who is a attorney that represented me today came to my Wife’s rescue ! They even threatened my next door neighbor to shut it, you have no business. My in-laws arrived from Cape Town and started to tackle her with words and “wisdom” ….
According to the police, 65% of all drug related arrests are for Cannabis:
Arrest Numbers from SAPS
2015/16 259 165
2016/17 292 689
2017/18 323 547
Pre concourt judgment 875 401 (65% of which is 569 011)
2018/19 232 657
2019/20 170 510
2020/21 121 359
Post concourt 524 526 (65% of which is 340 942) – of that, Fields Of Green For All only received 361 reports, which is only 0.08% of cannabis arrests.
Therefore, over past 6 years total drug arrests are 1 399 927 (65% of which is 909 953)
As of 2020 the South African population was tallied at 59.31 million, which makes those 909 953 cannabis arrests around 0.57% of the population
Taking the government to court for continuing to enforce and trying to implement unconstitutional laws, while simultaneously working to leverage change through the highest level of international involvement, does not come cheap.!
We cannot do any of this without the generosity of the public and businesses who support us on a monthly basis. Our team are volunteers who work for ALL South Africans who have a relationship with the Cannabis plant.
This year we need your support more than ever as we look forward to resuming The Trial Of The Plant, supporting the Labour Court case and The Haze Club case. Please join The Green Network today, or become an FGA Affiliate if you have a business in the industry. Thank you in advance!
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