We report on true stories of abuse by the South African Police “Service”. Unedited. Published on request and with permission.
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: Hermanus SAPS
Events as told by the victim:
For the last 10 years I have been taking over the counter medications for the severe pain. I have never been in a financial position to afford medical aid. Friends told me that all the pain medication will make my organs fail. So I started growing cannabis for myself. Currently I have no faith in state medicine, because it took the state 2 years to diagnose my mother with cervical cancer. It was too late. They cut the cancer ‘out’, but it has since started growing back, aggressively. Who has 2 years to waste sitting in state medical institutions? That’s why I started growing.
I was wrongfully arrested on the 26th of March 2021 by the SAPS border Police Cape Town with the assistance of the Hermanus law enforcement for growing cannabis in the privacy of my residence. They gained access to the property with a search warrant that was obtained from lying to the magistrate. Cops need to maintain arrest levels and are too afraid to take on REAL criminals , so they victimize soft targets. The cops arrived at my house with 6 police vans and about 15 police officers. Armed with R4’s and pump action shotguns. The police officers arrested only me, while there are 8 people staying on our property. They gave me a photocopy of the search warrant that was clearly 2 pages, but I was only given the first page. The Photostatted warrant, J51, had no government stamp or date on the copy given to me. They destroyed a pot and after I asked them to cut the plants, they quoted me a verse from the drug and drug trafficking act of 1992. One of the policemen actually said they have to take the whole plant, otherwise it will grow back. How will photosynthesis take place without leaves? Isn’t that primary school level education? They arrested me in front of my wife and son and all of my neighbors. I had to sit in holding sells from Friday morning 10h45 until Monday afternoon 15h00.
They charged me with 16 plants of which at least 5 are considered as seedlings. I only had 11 flowering plants. But at the time of arrest, I was not aware of the constitutional court judgment of 2018 and Neither did the police. Or if they did, they sure acted like they didn’t. They stole my plant seedling lights that I have proof of purchase from Wish. The description used by wish is plant Seedling light. They said because I have lights, I have a processing facility. The police acted like they knew the laws of South Africa, but it was clearly evident that they were making up their own laws. Where in the constitutional court judgments does it say that you are not allowed to cultivate your cannabis under growing lights. That’s the same as saying that growing under the sun is illegal. In my opinion, a light is cultivation material used to help grow the plant, but according to the Police, they can make up their own laws and they told me if you grow cannabis under a light, it is a processing facility. I Still don’t have a weight for the cannabis or receipt for the pot they stole with a plant in. Or a receipt for the lights they stole.
The SAPS Wrongfully arrested and detained me unlawfully with criminals and I am not a criminal. The SAPS caused so much psychological trauma to me, my wife and son. Currently my son says that the police are evil and he wants to shoot them. I don’t know what effect this ordeal will have on my sons mental health in the future. We are also very poor and I am currently unemployed. The amount of pain and suffering I have had to endure as a result of the SAPS is just inhumane. I have had 3 major surgeries in my life and cold weather makes whole body pain. 2 surgeries on my right hip age 14&16…1994,1996. 1 on my lower spine, L4&5 cushions burst (Injury on duty) 2011). I had to sleep on a 5cm pvc mattress on the ice cold cement floors. My wife brought me pain pills, but the rain and cold weather made it a very painful ordeal.
When I appeared in court the magistrate asked the prosecutor if this is even an offence, 4b of the drug and drug trafficking act 1992, and then the prosecutor read the docket and said that according to the Police officers, I am running a drug processing facility. The judge said it Must be changed to 5b before the next appearance, 11 Mei.
Hermanus is a very small town and I was arrested in front of many neighbors and it has come out what has happened to me and now I wont get a job ever again in this town. Now I have to move from a town that my well known family has been living in since before the 2nd world war. Hermanus today exists because of the hard work people like my family did in the past. So why must I move to find work. They have now completely destroyed my name in Hermanus. People look at my like I am a criminal and I did nothing wrong. They have put my family name into disrepute. My wife also lost her job last year in December. So we both will never ever find a job in Hermanus now.
Also, on the search warrant it was stated that they under oath and affirmation received information from a fellow police officer that subjects identified was selling tik, mandrax and dagga. All they found was a small amount of cannabis that was drying and few plants. The SAPS constantly lie under oath and commit purgery to obtain search warrants. Why can the SAPS lie under oath, but when someone from the public does it they can go to jail for 10 years? The warrant also said that they where also looking for registrars and money, but no drugs, money or registrars was found. If I am such a criminal mastermind that is suspected of running a massive drug processing facility, why is my rent months behind and we are on the verge of being kicked out. The owners also wants to kick us out now after this ordeal. Why is our water bill in arrears. Why do we survive of food parcel donations from the church and family. Why was my car repossessed because I couldn’t pay it. What drug king pin will be living in wallow like this?
My neighbors have all said that they will give sworn affidavits that will say that there was no cars coming here at all hours of the day and night. In fact our neighbors wondered why we hardly received visitors. That’s how little we get visitors.
In conclusion, it is clearly evident and visible to me that current law enforcement and SAPS is out to create criminals out of ordinary citizens, because they are not capable of doing real police work and are either too poorly trained and under paid or just plain cowards. I was recently told by a member of the SAPS that there is a debate in Hermanus about the necessity of the Law enforcement. He also went on to say that because of the competition between law enforcement and SAPS for the policing of Hermanus, the law enforcement officers makes a lot of these kind of arrests to push up their stats. In the process, they book a lot of overtime. So at the end of the day it boils down to fraud. They make busts, regardless of the bust and tons of extra money on overtime.
We also received the following report from two victims at a recent roadblock:
Police station involved Midrand SAPS:
Events as told by the victims:
My friend and I were travelling in his car (private property) from a friend’s house that we had visited in Centurion. We were stopped in a roadblock, prior to arriving in Midrand. The officer told my friend to get out of the car, my friend then provided him with his driver’s license. He then insisted that my friend open the boot of his car without prior explanation for the search warrant etc. I was still seated in the front passenger seat as the female officer approached the car window. In the boot of my friend’s car, the officer found two coffee jars, slightly filled with cannabis (7g and 15g, respectively). The jars were beside and slightly underneath two jackets of mine. The officer asked, what it is? And if we were selling it, he then persistently, insisted that our intentions with the cannabis was to sell it. He then persistently demanded that we tell the truth, denying our answers continuously.
He told us that he can see that we are lying and that he can see truth, as if he is telepathic. He then informed the other officer of the ‘drugs’, the female officer then came to inspect the boot containing drugs. She then too denied our explanations, saying ‘no way owe’. This caused a lot of attention, they then called their supervisors/seniors, a forensic vac, and a detective to come inspect my friend’s car. She then approached the passenger door, telling me to exit the car, I then provided her with a third jar, containing approximately 15g, as well as a cutting of a cannabis plant. She then informed us that she is going to search my friend’s car for more “drugs”. She then informed my friend that he must overwatch whilst she searched the passenger seat of my car. The rest of police crew arrived consisting of four officers/gentlemen, which attracted a lot of attention, they then started searching the rest of the car without consent. The female officer asked if the car contained any other “drugs”. In the process, my friend and I debated that the ‘stash’ found, was our own, for personal consumption in a private place, however this was denied by the two officers.
The four or five newly arrived officers decided to stand around and search my friend’s car without my consent. Do take in mind that the female officer informed him that he had to supervise her as she searched his car, however, the other four officers went throughout his car without consent, nor supervision. I overwatched the fury of cops surrounding and searching his car, as I was told to step aside a far, because it was not my vehicle. During the search of the cubby hole, the female officer found a bunch of papers which she then continued to threw onto the floor of my fiend’s car in frustration, during which she tore a through papers of his, throwing some out of the car? The female officer also tore a box of his used to hold an electronic device, currently in use in my friend’s car. In the cubby hole, between the newly rearranged papers, the female officer found two bankies filled with a variety of vegetable and legume seeds, namely beans, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, sweetcorn etc. which I had planned to give to my girlfriend.
However, to my surprise, she asked what seeds they were? My friend and I answered as per above. In the end, they were ‘confiscated as evidence’ with the 3 small coffee jars. During the process of the search, the four or so officers rearranged my friend’s car, throwing personal documents of his around in the car. They also pulled and bent the protective cage of his sub-woofer, eliminating the protective function of the speaker cage. During the process, we tried to call my friend’s mother to notify her of the situation, where we were quickly notified that we may not be on the phone and have no right to a phone call. The officers then confiscated my friend and I’s phones, even though our phones continued to ring as his mother desperately tried to get a hold of him. They denied our right to answer or possess our phones without consent. We were then rendered without the ability to contact anyone. Our phones rung, and the officers refused to give our phones back. During their discussions, my friend and I had to stand aside and wait for the final verdict by seniors and company. After a decision was made, the detective, asked if we knew, ‘ why we are under arrest?’ which we then said no, thereafter he said we are arrested for being in possession of dagga. And said that we must proceed to the Midrand police station. And even though, compliance was ensured by the both of us, my friend was placed in handcuffs, restricting his freedom of movement.
The detective told us that my friend will be transported alone in his car by the detective, whilst being handcuffed. I was transported in another vehicle to the police station. We eventually arrived by the police station filled with anxiety. The detective asked us about some items used for evidence. Every policeman and woman (number = 20 or so), staring at us upon entry. My friend was taken to a questioning room first, with me to join soon after. In the questioning room, not many questions were asked. The detective basically asked who owns which jar, and what seeds were found in the bankies. We then answered as per above, disclosing that the jars were of our own personal stash for private consumption in a private place. We had to sign detainee forms. The detective also asked, how much was in each jar, which we then answered as per above. However, he did not weigh the evidence nor let us sign off on the evidence. After that, we were then quickly transferred to the holding cell block. Before entering the holding cell block, we were provided with one very much rushed opportunity to make a phone call to a family member or a lawyer (according to the detective, we could only apply for bail with a lawyer present), funny enough, the detective referred a lawyer as oppose to the idea that my friend and I had in mind. It felt as if we were almost coaxed into having to use this lawyer as oppose to the ones in mind, ‘Fields of green for all’.
We tried to convince my friend’s mother to call Fields of green for all, however, she insisted on speaking to the officer herself, however he was on the phone with the lawyer, in which I overheard him saying to the lawyer that the amount of cannabis in possession was minimal, completely on the contrary to what was said by the detective to us, earlier. After, he got off the phone, my friend’s mother insisted on speaking to him. Thereafter, we were told to enter the holding cell block. Therein, we were told to hand in our personal items, and get prepared to be processed and placed in a holding cell. We were then processed and taken to the holding cells for the remainder of the night. However, before being placed in the holding cell for night, we spent a lot of time in the lobby area of the holding cell block where administrative work takes place. During this time, we saw a lot of peculiar incidents take place. Before entering the holding cell for the night, we were advised to grab blankets and mattresses.
With us was another young gentleman, seemingly under the influence of alcohol which was let go on bail for R1000 after consultation with the one officer on duty without a lawyer present at all. Observing this, enlightened me of the differences in treatment and double standards tolerated by our South African Police Service. To no surprise, that young gentleman never joined us in the holding cell for the night. After time, our lawyer as kindly referred by the detective, arrived and organized our bail. We completed the bail procedure involving the processing of our fingerprints and other documentation. We were then told to grab our personal belongings and were then escorted out of the holding cell block and police station by our lawyer. We finished with the process, in complete confusion, disappointment and disbelief in the service, aid and regulatory actions upheld by SAPS.
How can one enforce the law and yet not be aware of the law at the same time? In the end, we spent R23 000 on case that got thrown out due to a decision to not prosecute, because of a ‘nully’ prosecution due to an apparent ‘unlawful’ collection of evidence. Is there anything that we can do about the unlawful arrest for the ‘possession of dagga’? It would be incredible, if we could be reimbursed for the unnecessary lawsuit expenses when the case got thrown out and was deemed unlawful. We are currently postgraduate students trying to complete our master’s degrees and academia along with financial and life stressors are already stressful enough, now we have this extra pressure of debt we need to pay back, not to mention the psychological trauma and humiliation we had to endure. Keeping in mind of the current legislation regarding the ruling of the Constitutional Court, is there any way that we can proceed to achieve the above and beyond, in the help to recreate and redefine the cannabis laws of South Africa?