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S.Africa: Govt to refund Billions?

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  • pbs@iafrica.com
    From: WWW.AfricanCrisis.Org [I doubt they will ever pay a cent... they ll quickly fix this mistake. Jan] Johannesburg - A serious administrative mistake may
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 2, 2005
      From: WWW.AfricanCrisis.Org
      [I doubt they will ever pay a cent... they'll quickly fix this mistake.

      Johannesburg - A serious administrative mistake may result in government
      having to pay "billions of rand" in damages to motorists after the powers
      of arrest of metro police members, customs officers and nature
      conservation officials were revoked "by accident".

      "This means that no road traffic fine imposed since 17 December last year
      until now is worth the piece of paper that it is written on," says Piet
      Kruyshaar, a Pretoria attorney.

      This is the result of a notice published in the Government Gazette in
      terms of which Justice Minister Brigitte Mabandla revoked the powers of
      the officials concerned, when the real intention was to expand the powers
      of security officers of Metrorail.

      Kruyshaar stumbled on the notice when a client approached him for legal
      advice regarding the powers of Metrorail security officers.

      Kruyshaar says the powers of magistrates, justices of the peace, police
      members and warders of correctional services were not affected by the

      He said anyone who has been arrested by any other peace officer could
      institute a claim for damages against the state for wrongful arrest.

      Furthermore all fines, searches, arrests and forfeitures imposed by metro
      police officers during the holiday period as part of the Arrive Alive
      campaign are wrongful.

      Kruyshaar says motorists who were arrested for driving under the
      influence of alcohol would go scot-free.

      No customs officer had the right to seize drugs or any other property at
      airports or border posts and they also had no right to search the baggage
      of travellers, says Kruyshaar.

      "Anybody who has suffered any of the above has a civil claim against the
      state," he said.


      "I couldn't believe my eyes. I phoned Olaff de Meyer, also a Pretoria
      attorney, immediately."

      De Meyer said he was surprised that such a "howler" could crop up.

      "I couldn't stop laughing when I saw what poor English is being used in
      the Government Gazette," De Meyer said.

      Some other members of the legal profession, who were approached for
      comment, saw the minister's lapse as blatant negligence with far-reaching
      results to the detriment of the ratepayer.

      It was not possible to rectify the matter with retrospective effect.
      Kruyshaar said he informed the offices of the government attorneys of the

      He was told that the matter would be rectified as soon as the person who
      had drafted the notice for Mabandla returned from leave.

      Appointments not invalidated Advocate Johann Engelbrecht, SC, does not
      agree with Kruyshaar.

      He said the minister appointed peace officers legally before 17 December
      last year.

      "When the section is revoked, it does not invalidate the appointment of
      peace officers as the appointments were made legally.

      "Everything done in terms of a valid act is not abrogated when an act is
      revoked," Engelbrecht said.

      Edited by Wilmer Muller

      Source: News24.Com

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