On Wednesday 18 March 2020, SERI attorney Khululiwe Bhengu joined Sakina Kamwendo on SABC News to discuss the raids case that is currently before the High Court.
Khulululiwe discussed why the 2,852 inner-city residents that SERI represents are challenging the constitutionality of section 13(7) of the South African Police Services Act which was used as the legal basis for conducting 18 of the 20 warrantless raids that were conducted between 30 June 2017 and 3 May 2018. The other two raids were conducted with no authorisation at all.
During the raids, which were jointly conducted by the South African Police Services (SAPS), the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD), the Department of Home Affairs and the City of Johannesburg, officials forced residents out of the buildings and onto the streets (often in the middle of the night while residents were only partially clothed), where they were searched, finger-printed and commanded to produce copies of their identity documents, passports or asylum seekers’ permits. Anyone who was unable to produce their identity documents was detained.
Khululiwe explained that the section should be declared unconstitutional because it allowed for the violation of the residents' rights to privacy and dignity. She highlighted that the Constitutional Court has, in various matters, consistently ruled against the use of warrantless searches because of their violation of these constitutional rights.
Khululiwe also explained how the act was used to bypass existing pieces of legislation such as the Immigration Act and the Criminal Procedure Act.